Zoning, solar facility top Dalton Town Meeting’s agenda


DALTON -- Town officials assembled 33 warrant articles for the annual town meeting next month.

The articles concern finances, zoning, solar energy projects, affordable housing, sale of town land, stormwater management, the state’s Green Communities Act and much else.

"A lot of these items merely ask the townspeople for permission to enter into agreements and act in a way that’s in the best interest of the town," Dalton Town Manager Kenneth E. Walto said.

Officials seek this authority to push along a proposed solar photovoltaic facility on town land formerly known as Dalton’s municipal landfill. Developer Citizens Energy Corp. will locate a 1.3-megawatt solar array on the 20-acre parcel if voters OK the project.

Another significant article concerns whether the town should adopt Massachusetts’ "stretch energy code," which requires all new buildings and modifications of existing structures comply with certain energy efficiency standards.

If Dalton adopts the stretch code, it could be well on its way toward acceptance into the state’s Green Communities Act. The town would join other Berkshire municipalities like Williamstown and Lenox in enjoying access to renewable energy grants and other state funds as a participant in the program.

Potential zoning changes up for vote also promise to change the way the town functions -- for the better, officials hope.

One would allow a permitting process for people who want to keep backyard chickens "in a manner that minimizes the impact on the character of neighborhoods, on property values and to protect public health and safety."

Other potential zoning changes would regulate small scale photovoltaic installations, medical marijuana and drive-through facilities.

A conversion of the former Dalton High School at 120 First St. into affordable housing has long been an initiative on the agenda of town planners. One warrant article seeks authority from voters to proceed "on such terms and conditions as the Select Board deems in the best interest of the town."

Finally, another article would permit the sale of a parcel of North Mountain Road to the state Department of Fish & Game for roughly $50,000.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. at Wahconah Regional High School on Monday, May 5.

To reach Phil Demers:
or (413) 281-2859.
On Twitter: @BE_PhilD


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