Tuesday, December 19, 2017



Members Present: Clark Hubbard, Peter Kittell, David Bennion, Cyrus Grennon,

Dan Larivee, Rolland Rainville


Members Absent: Judith McLaughlin


Guests: Taylor Newton


Meeting called to order at: 7:30 pm


Approval of Minutes: David Bennion moved to approve the minutes from November, Dan seconded the motion.  All approved. 


Old Business: Clark explained the regulations for setbacks for solar projects.  John Ho is not building his project on slabs.  All panels will be on poles.  John’s project meets the State of Vermont’s requirements for setbacks which is 25 feet.  Clark will draft a letter to John Ho stating that the PC approves his project. 


New Business:  The PC worked during their annual Christmas Pizza Party.  The PC welcomed Taylor Newton to the meeting. 

Taylor spoke about the Municipal Plan, and the decision to hold off on the energy enhancement portion of the plan.  Taylor brought the draft of the Enhanced Energy Plan for the PC to review.   The PC went over questions regarding statements (eg: power companies, dams) on the plan with Taylor.  Together the group made corrections to the plan. 

Dan had a question regarding the word Enhanced in the plan.  Taylor said that the plan provides more data than previous plans.  If a plan is approved, the State public Utility Commission then gives the town plan deference.  The Town of Franklin also has a “say” in decisions that the Public Utility Commission proposes. Dan was concerned whether or not the adoption of this plan would make it harder for individuals to make energy changes.  Taylor said that no, it would not. Cyrus asked Taylor how the numbers in the document with regards to Franklin were determined.  Taylor said that they are a “guestemation” by the state.  The Taylor also explained the advantage to putting solar on a “preferred location” to the landowner.  Taylor told the PC that our target for wood heat is zero, because the Town of Franklin has a large number of landowners who heat with wood.  The PC also discussed with Taylor efficient heating systems such as the Electric Heat Pump system.  Taylor gave the PC contact information for a representative from Efficiency Vermont. A representative will come to a meeting (PC, Selectboard, or Town Meeting) to talk about efficient systems. 

Taylor went over the listing of preferred locations for solar energy.  (roof tops, landfills, and brown fields parking lots)  The PC discussed the open meadows of the State Park.  




The PC asked Taylor to add State, municipal and school properties to be considered preferred. Taylor also explained the advantage to putting solar on a “preferred location” to the landowner.  There is a financial benefit to landowners who use solar energy.  Taylor also confirmed that the PC is in agreement with the statement that facilities less than 35 acres are preferred.  (5 megawatts)

Rolland asked Taylor about size of facilities and if an individual with land could put up a larger facility.   Taylor said that land could be developed, provided the infrastructure can support the output.  Also, the developer needs to find buyers for the output and that the facilities are taxable by a town.  Often land is leased by a company.  There is no maintenance for the town if a company leases for a solar facility.  Taylor explained the process that would be involved in developing such a facility. 

Taylor had a question for the PC on page 6 of the plan.  He wanted to make sure that the PC was ok with the height determination of a wind turbine being labeled industrial/commercial if height was over 100 feet (excluding blades).  Such a turbine does not meet regional standards.  The PC agreed with the statement with regards to the village of Franklin. 

Taylor went over page 8 and 9 to determine what the PC wants to exclude. 

EXCLUDE: *create an energy committee *create a higher energy standard for homes *conduct an energy audit of public buildings (that has already been done)

Taylor said that page 12 and 13 reference renewable facilities in town.

The PC asked if biomass would contribute to the energy target.  Taylor said it is supported. He said it will contribute to the Franklin target, (table 9.9) but there is not good information about biomass potential. Biomass will go towards the target that is shown on table 9.9.

The PC went over with Taylor the approval process for getting the Enhances Energy Plan approved.  Taylor will have the plan ready for the PC for January meeting.  The Selectboard will become part of the process, and a public meeting will be scheduled.

Taylor left the meeting at 8:30 pm. 

 Motion to adjourn: Clark made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 pm, seconded by Dan.  All approved. The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 pm.


The next regular meeting of the Franklin Planning Commission will be January 16, 2018 at the Homestead Dining Room.


Respectfully submitted,

December 20, 2017

Maureen Sodaro, Secretary


These minutes are not final until approved by the Planning Commission at their next regular meeting.