The Holland Blog will help boost the image by requesting copies of the “whole bunch” of letters utilizing a public information request. The new Open Meeting Law mandates to include any — during the meeting mentioned documents — to be made part of the official record. The Holland Blog will then publish all letters here to help Brian out.
Effective January 1, 2010, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts brought its “base” energy code to the level of the International Energy Conservation Code (“IECC”) 2009, but the Commonwealth also provided — as the first state in the nation — a set of optional and even more stringent energy efficiency provisions.
These more stringent provisions, which cities and towns may choose to adopt, are know as “Stretch Code” and appear as Appendix 120.AA to the 7th Edition of the State Building Code 780 CMR.
As a first step, DOER in January 2010, announced it would begin taking applications from cities and towns seeking official “Green Community” status. May 14, 2010, was the deadline for cities and towns to apply for Green Community status in order to be eligible for the first round of grants.
Holland’s leaders” were sleeping on the job; at the time true leadership in other communities took the necessary steps to comply with the requirements to qualify for the program, James Wettlaufer, Earl Johnson and Christian Petersen of the selectboard were busy with their vendetta against the Lamountains, spending money on one more frivolous lawsuit they lost at the end, as usual.
No rocket science was needed to put it in place, you just needed to follow instructions issued by the DOER. Every housewife baking cookies according to a recipe faces a bigger challenge, click here, to see for yourself.
As of May 14, 2010, 40 communities had adopted the “stretch code,” by November 10, 2010, the number was 58, and the latest count that was released is 64 communities. To see which cities and towns have already adopted the “Stretch [energy] Code”, click here!
The first round of grants last year paid out 11 millions in state grant money available to “Green Communities.” $125,000 was the smallest amount awarded last year. It is fair to claim that under Wettlaufer’s watch, the opportunity to ring the register and cash—in at least $125,000 in (easy) grant money was missed.
State grant were, and are again this year available for programs such as efficiency initiatives, renewable energy projects and innovative programs. To qualify for “Green Community,” status, the following five conditions need to be met:
As the opportunity to put the required articles on last years ballot was missed, the taxpayer will have to shell out additional funds for a special town meeting. The deadline for filling applications to become a “green community,” must be submitted to DOER no later than May 14, 2011. A ruling from DOER is usually swift and typically after less then a week made. There will be little time or reasons to celebrate if the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) grants Holland “Green Community” status, as the deadline to file grant applications is May 28, 2011 as far as I know.
As time goes on, more and more communities qualify for “Green Community” status and it will be more and more difficult to get a sizable piece of the pie.
But the selectboard is not the only government body that missed the boat. I was attending a Planning Board of Holland (PBH) meeting back on October 27, 2009. The PBH at that time was busy drafting legislation to add paragraphs to the Zoning bylaw allowing the creation of so called “Estate Lots.” (Wettlaufer has a parcel of land big enough but lacking the frontage to further divide the parcel under the existing zoning bylaw. The thing with the “common driveway” doesn’t work any longer for Wettlaufer since the Holland Blog exposed the LandGate scheme by the Johnsons’).
The “Estate Lot” legislation was left by the wayside, the economy was not cooperating with plans to cash—in on unneeded land. What would have made more sense in these for many difficult times would have been adopting new legislation allowing the construction of “in—law apartments,” as more and more people loose their homes to foreclosure and are forced to live with relatives. As mentioned above, two of the requirements to qualify for “Green Community” status pertains to the zoning bylaws.
The Stretch Code is significant because it allows cites and towns to impose requirements that surpass the State Building Code. However, unless or until a municipality legally accepts the Stretch Code, the energy provisions of the base energy code, found within the State Building Code at 780 CMR 13, 34, 61, or 93, as applicable, will apply.
Stretch code requirements will take definitive effect after its acceptance by the voters of Holland at a special town meeting. There will by a grace period of six month during which a building can be built either in compliance with the stretch code or not.
Stretch code for instance will require the use of code—compliant windows if you change the existing windows on your house, but if you are just replacing a broken window, you can use a none compliant window (I guess you just have to break your windows first before you replace them; but then again, why would anybody replace windows if not to save energy? But if you change your heating system, you can keep your old windows. Of course, these are just two examples.
If you have questions about the technicality of the code, contact Jack Keough or any of the following:
Dep. of Energy Resources (DOER)
(attended the public hearing on March 22, 2011, and gave the presentation on the proposed Stretch Code bylaw amendment)
Green Communities Western MA Regional Director
436 Dwight Street
Spriingfield, MA 01103
(413) 755-2232 (office) (617) 823 4588 (cell) (413) 784 1149 (fax) Jim.Barry@state.ma.us
Dep. of Energy Resources (DOER)
Kelly Brown (508∿2703
Dept. of Public Safety
Mike Guigli (617) 826—5215
Energy & Environment (EOEEA)
Ian Finlayson (617) 626—4910
Marc Breslow (617) 626—1105
February 25, 2011, Peter Frei, revised March 23, 2011.