I'm writing to express my concerns as a voter in the town of Peru. On July 8 of last year, the town voted on an amendment to change the bylaw for wind development. The voters rejected a bylaw change that would have weakened the current standard we have with regard to noise. Record numbers of people attended The Special Town Meeting to vote. Prior to the vote a wind developer gave us his word that he would not go forward with a development under the current bylaw. A total of 55 percent of the voters decided to reject the bylaw amendment supported by the developer and town officials.
On Sept. 11, the developer filed for a variance to replace the current bylaw with his own standard, which just happens to be the standard rejected by town voters at the Special Town Meeting in July. Now, The Peru Zoning Board of Appeals is reviewing the request on behalf of the developer. It has the power to grant him the variance he seeks, even though the majority of voters do not support this standard.
Special Town Meeting votes carry as much weight as a City Council vote in larger communities. When Pittsfield's City Council voted to establish zoning to make it difficult for a strip club to open in town, no club owners came forward to ask the Pittsfield Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance to open a club because they couldn't meet the standards set forth in the bylaw, even if they appear to be unreasonable. This is exactly what the wind developer is trying to do in Peru. He can't meet the standards that are set forth in our bylaw.
I urge the residents of Peru and surrounding communities that will be impacted to attend the Peru Zoning Board of Appeals public hearing to let them know how they feel about the variances being voted on. Please keep an eye out for upcoming dates.