The Board of Selectmen has asked the Long Range Planning Committee and the Planning Board to evaluate and investigate the benefits of the Town of Dover becoming a so-called designated Green Community pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) Chapter 25A Section 10(c). This program is administered through the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and to date, of the 351 cities and towns of Massachusetts, approximately 160 have been certified as Green Communities.
Once a town has satisfied the five criteria to become certified as a Green Community, it may then apply for project-specific grant monies which, once awarded, may then be used toward energy conservation measures on that project. The amounts awarded communities can exceed $125,000. For further information, refer to the Requirements for Becoming Designated as a Green Community.
For the past six months the Long Range Planning Committee and the Planning Board have reviewed this matter in considerable depth and believe it has substantial merit, and should be pursued. Town Planner Gino Carlucci successfully guided the Town of Sherborn through this process in 2011.
As of this writing, Sherborn has received approximately $215,000 in grant monies. Mr. Carlucci’s particular expertise in this area will greatly assist in achieving Green Community certification for the Town of Dover.
The Five Criteria
In order to become certified the five criteria we must satisfy include:
- Adopt as-of-right siting for a renewable or alternative energy facility. We propose to do this by creating an overlay zoning area next to the Town Transfer Station (approximately 10 acres) for a solar panel field, see the map (PDF).
- Provide for an expedited permitting process for this use. We have a draft Zoning Bylaw (PDF) available, prepared by Mr. Carlucci.
- The Town must provide a proposed energy reduction plan with the objective of a 20% reduction over a five-year period. This will take some work but is manageable.
- The Town must commit to purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles. Most of our vehicles are exempt from this criterion, being either heavy-duty trucks or emergency response vehicles, and as a result compliance would not be difficult.
- The adoption of the so-classed Stretch Code for our Building Department, which is an optional appendix to the Massachusetts Building Energy Code. The Stretch Code offers a cost-effective route to achieve better energy efficiency. Our Building Inspector advises that the Stretch Code, if adopted, is no stricter than the current code and would have minimal impact on costs of construction. See this link to the Stretch Code bylaw (PDF).
We propose bringing the necessary articles to Annual Town Meeting in May of 2016. Preparatory to this meeting, the Long Range Planning Committee (in conjunction with the Planning Board), plans to host an educational forum to enhance Dover residents’ awareness of the benefits of becoming a Certified Green Community. The forum will be held at the Town House, the date of which will be posted soon.
The objective is energy conservation and the reward is substantial cost savings and grant money for use by the Town.
We hope you will learn why so many Massachusetts towns have taken advantage of this opportunity, and will see fit to support this worthy objective.