Special TM in Shutesbury rescheduled to Jan. 23

Shutesbury Town Hall

Shutesbury Town Hall GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

By Scott Merzbach

Staff Writer

Published: 01-22-2024 11:07 AM

SHUTESBURY — A special Town Meeting that includes a revised wetlands protection bylaw to replace one adopted in 1987 is being postponed to next week due to Tuesday’s snowstorm.

The seven-article warrant, which also has various spending items, will be taken up Jan. 23 beginning at 6 p.m. at the elementary school gymnasium.

The decision to delay the Town Meeting was made by Town Moderator Paul Lyons, who cited the powers provided him under state law chapter 39, section 10A. In addition, he noted the decision comes “due to poor weather conditions and potentially dangerous driving conditions.”

There are expected to be several amendments made to the language in the revised bylaw, with the activist group Smart Solar Shutesbury objecting to one section that its Wellesley-based attorney, Donna Brewer, has argued would give developers the right to veto conditions set by the Conservation Commission.

During a virtual forum Monday evening, Smart Solar member Sharon Weizenbaum calls the sentence a “fatal flaw” since the applicant would have to agree with the commission decision for it to be binding.

“It really gutted the power of the Conservation Commission to protect us,” Weizenbaum said.

With that sentence removed, though, Smart Solar Shutesbury is endorsing the bylaw, but is advising people to pay attention to possible amendments that might change buffer zones and diminish protections.

The forum included experts in wetlands who said adopting the bylaw is critical

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Jena Schwartz: Things I have not said
In federal lawsuit, teacher accuses Amherst schools of violating civil rights, other district policies
It’s official: Belchertown’s request to create town manager position OK’d by state
Defying the odds: Hadley’s Owen Earle back competing less than two years removed from horrific accident
As Hadley works on energy storage bylaw, some question why the town has to allow them at all
Amherst officials cool to bid to double spending hike for regional schools

One of those, resident Erin Jacque, who is also the wetlands administrator for Amherst, appealed for anyone eligible to vote to attend because it is important to prevent dirty water from polluting drinking water.

“Wetlands are the interface of surface water and groundwater,” Jacque said.