In order to ensure that Charlton Town officials and members of the community remain engaged and informed of the Project’s development plans, the Applicant has been working to establish and maintain regular and open lines of communication. The Project team has been in regular contact with the Charlton Town Administrator; the Administrator has advised the Project team that the Board of Selectmen and other Charlton officials have been regularly briefed on development activities. Additionally, the team held multiple “in person” meetings with the Board of Selectmen, the Charlton Economic Development Council, the Charlton Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief, the Interim Town Planner, the Building Commissioner, and the Tax Assessor.2 Some of the outreach conducted with respect to the Project are summarized in Table 1.4-1 as follows.
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 presented in this Petition. 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.