PERU -- Selectman Edward Richards stepped down from the board this week, ending a more than decade-long run of elected service to the town.
His resignation was announced by Selectmen Chairman Douglas Haskins at Monday's board meeting, which Richards did not attend. Haskins said discussion will take place with the town clerk to fill the seat through a special election.
Citing his age and a sense of fatigue as reasons for resigning, the 78-year-old Richards was in the first year of a three-year term on the three-person Board of Selectmen. He said residents last year talked him into running for a fifth consecutive term. But he's retiring now that the projects started on his watch -- including the completion last month of a new fire station -- have been completed.
"I don't have the energy to keep running [around]," Richards said. "It takes a lot of time. I don't do it any justice by keeping going."
Richards, a former general contractor and Peru resident of 25 years, said he's been on the Board of Selectmen for four consecutive three-year terms and his current unfinished term. He expressed words of gratitude to the public for supporting his public service and he said he said would stay active in town.
Richards said the mobilization of community members in recent months against an effort by Acton-based Lighthouse Energy to bring up to six wind turbines to Garnet Hill did not play a role in his resignation. The backlash against the project has included a public effort to enact a moratorium against any wind turbine project.
In July, there also was a robustly attended special town meeting in which voters rejected revisions to the town's wind energy bylaw. The two articles would alter the decibel level allowed by a wind turbine and another bylaw would allow a homeowner to waive the decibel requirement and negotiate a deal with a potential wind turbine developer.
Richards said he'd be supportive of the project if it provided a "substantial" amount of income in the range of $4 million to $5 million over 20 years for town improvements.
The issue has "nothing to do with" his decision to step down, Richards said.
Haskins, the chairman of the board, praised Richards as an early mentor and loyal public servant. Richards played a pivotal role in the construction of the town's highway station and fire station and served the town well, Haskins said.
"When the construction of the fire station [was taking place], he was actually over there every day to make sure everything got done as it was supposed to be," Haskins said.
To reach John Sakata:
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On Twitter: @jsakata