Summary of Certain Community Outreach Activities
The Applicant’s meetings with the Charlton Fire Chief and Deputy Chief resulted in design enhancements and an agreement on a plan to remain in contact throughout the development stages. Specifically, the Fire Chief made valuable suggestions that were taken into consideration by the team and implemented into the current design. In discussing the merits of securing individual and comprehensive zoning exemptions, the Applicant plans to voluntarily participate in the “functional equivalent” of the site plan review process in Charlton. While the Applicant has requested an exemption from any requirements for site plan review, the Applicant has proposed to submit to the Planning Board all of the materials required by the Site Plan Review process, meet with the Planning Board to review the Project, and agree to memorialize any appropriate conditions that come out of that process in an agreement or stipulation with the Town. The Project team is also working to identify opportunities to provide additional benefits from the Facility or at the site to Charlton, its residents and businesses, and its neighbors. These opportunities could include using the site for community solar or electric storage facilities, resiliency facility opportunities (such as enhanced back-up service to nearby first responders or the Town Center), opportunities for natural gas distribution service to local customers, and potential back-up fuel for area electricity generators. This latter objective was the basis for the identification of the alternative site described previously. The Applicant believes that beyond the Project, there are substantial opportunities for renewable energy and resiliency benefits consistent with the Commonwealth’s energy policies.
|March 1, 2016||Town Administrator, Town Planner||Introduction of Project, Project partners, operations experience, and basic LNG and Project description. Review of specific aspects of Project.|
|September 14, 2016||Fire Department||Initial outreach letter to Fire Department regarding introduction of Project, Project partners, operations experience, and basic LNG description.|
|September 20, 2016||Board of Selectmen, Town Administrator, Tax Assessor||Project update by Project partners.|
|September 27, 2016||Board of Selectmen||Initial introduction of Project, Project partners, and basic LNG description.|
|October 25, 2016||Town Administrator and Tax Assessors||Preliminary discussion of tax agreement parameters.|
|November 7, 2016||Project Open House Event||The Project team held an “Open House” for Charlton officials, first responders, and residents. The purpose was to describe the scope of the Project and address stakeholder questions and comments.|
|Periodic updates, 1Q-2017-3Q-2017||Periodic Updates||Community officials received periodic updates during the engineering and design process.|
|May 14, 2018||Charlton Economic Development Commission Meeting||Re-introduced Project to the EDC board, with a comprehensive update on development plans.|
|May 14, 2018||Charlton Town Administrator||Re-introduced the Project with intent to inform the Board of Selectmen of the updated development schedule.|
|May 14, 2018||Charlton Tax Assessor||Introduction and Project update.|
|June 13, 2018||Charlton Town Administrator||Project status update and discussion regarding meetings with Zoning Board and Fire Chief.|
|July 12, 2018||Charlton Interim Town Planner and Building Commissioner||Discussion of the merits of a zoning exemption and local permitting, including Conservation Commission.|
|July 12, 2018||Charlton Interim Town Planner||Overview of Project layout and technology description.|
|July 12, 2018||Charlton Fire Chief and Deputy Chief||Overview of Project safety plan & first responders comments on site layout.|
|August 2, 2018||State Representative Peter Durant
State Representative Paul Frost
Senator Ann Gobi
|Initial outreach to the State Delegation introducing the Project and its local and Statewide impact.|
|August 14, 2018||Board of Selectmen Monthly Meeting||Project team provided an update on development activities. Highlighted details of the Petition filing and expected permitting schedule.|
|August 16, 2018||Town of Southbridge Department of Economic Development and Planning||Phone call introducing the project; arranging line of communication in advance of petition filing.|
|August 30, 2018||Town Administrator||Meeting in Charlton to discuss potential long term benefits from the Project. The Project team also provided an update as to the filing and details surrounding public outreach and future EFSB hearing in Charlton.|
|November 8, 2018||State Representatives Peter Durant
State Representative Paul K. Frost
|Project team held an in-person project briefing at the Charlton Public Library with Rep Durant and Rep Frost and staff members.|
|November 13, 2018||Public Comment Hearing||Project Team met with and spoke informally to numerous residents, stakeholders and community officials at the public comment hearing. The Applicant also fully considered the formal comments presented at such hearing.|
|December 5, 2018||Charlton Town Administrator||Project team met with the Town Administrator to provide an update following the EFSB public comment hearing and related developments.|
|January 4, 2019||Sturbridge Planning Board Chairman
Sturbridge Town Planner
|Applicant held follow-up meeting from the EFSB public comment hearing to discuss specifics of project safety plan and the planned training programs for the Sturbridge Fire Department.|
|February 13, 2019||Charlton Interim Planning Director, Charlton Building Inspector, Charlton Deputy Fire Chief, Charlton Fire Inspector||NEC project representatives met with members of the Charlton Interim Planning Director, the Charlton Building Inspector, Deputy Fire Chief and Fire Inspector. An update on project activities was provided with substantial discussion on safety measures and alterations in design for the Route 169 Site.|
|February 15, 2019||Massachusetts Department of Transportation (“MassDOT”)||Project design team members met with MassDOT, District 3 representatives to introduce the project and gain feedback on the design and permit application requirements for the Route 169 Site driveways and preferred interconnection pipeline route along Route 169.|
|March 26, 2019||Charlton Planning Board Representatives||NEC project representative held a briefing for members of the Planning Board to discuss status of the project & upcoming EFSB hearing. Charlton Emergency Services Leaders were represented at the meeting.|
|May 21, 2019||Meeting with Board of Selectmen||Site selection and project status review.|
|May 29, 2019||EFSB Public Hearing||EFSB held its’ second public hearing to review the updated NEC filing.|
|June 11, 2019||Town Administrator||Meeting with Town Administrator, review of Development Agreement.|
|June 11, 2019||Charlton Board of Health||NEC project representatives met with the Board of Health to address questions about the project, community health, and the role of the Board of Health in the process.|
|July 23, 2019||Interdisciplinary Meeting||A comprehensive “working group” of town officials chaired by the board of selectmen was convened.
|January, 2020||Energy Facilities Siting Board||Evidentiary hearings were held before the Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) of Massachusetts. Briefs and Reply Briefs provided to the EFSB.
|March 12, 2020||Massachusetts Department of Transportation (“Mass DOT”)||A highway access permit was submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for approval.
|March 24, 2020||Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (“Mass DEP”)||A protocol application for air and noise, as well as a modeling report, was submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
|May 20, 2020||Massachusetts Department of Transportation (“Mass DOT”)||A utility permit was submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
|May 29, 2020||Energy Facilities Siting Board||Supplemental information was provided to the EFSB on interconnection pipeline developments.
|July 31, 2020||Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (“Mass DEP”)||An Environmental Notification Form (ENF) was submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to comply with the requirements of the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). The ENF filing can be viewed by clicking here: 20200730_ENF_NortheastEnergyCenter.
|August 7, 2020||Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (“Mass DEP”)||Anticipated date of publication of public notices in local papers to comply with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA).
|August 10, 2020||Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (“Mass DEP”)||Anticipated ENF publication in MEPA’s Environmental Monitor.