Yarmouth Housing Committee Debates Solar Panel Visibility and Fencing

The Yarmouth Community Housing Committee recently met to discuss various applications relating to property modifications within the district, with particular focus on the installation of solar panels on Church Street and the construction of fences in multiple locations. The most contentious topic was the visibility and appropriateness of solar panels on the historic home on Church Street, leading to a decision to table the application for further consideration. Additionally, the committee addressed several applications for fence installations, one of which included a discussion on the appropriateness of chain-link fences in the district. Enforcement of the historic district act and the role of the building inspector were also key points of debate, as was the potential for imposing fines for non-compliance.

At the heart of the meeting was the application by the owner of 16 Church Street to install 40 solar panels on the property. The owner and Venture H Solar, the agent, argued that the tree coverage would minimize visibility from the street. However, concerns were raised by neighbors Douglas and Mary Robinson about the impact on the historical quality of the neighborhood and potential environmental issues. The committee was divided, with some members suggesting that relocating the panels to less visible areas might be a solution. The debate also included considerations of the aesthetic impact on the neighborhood and the potential effect on property values and wildlife. After thorough discussion and public commentary, the application was tabled to allow the owner to explore alternative placements for the solar panels.

In contrast, an application for 14 solar panels on Way was approved despite their visibility. Another property on Route 6A was applauded for efforts to restore the property, including painting and replacing doors, with the application being approved contingent on adherence to historic preservation guidelines.

The committee also reviewed several fence installation applications. One applicant proposed a 5 ft cedar picket fence and outdoor shower at their property, with discussions focusing on the technicalities of installing a fence on a slope and whether an existing fence and shed could be replaced. Another resident applied for a black vinyl chain-link fence, noting the economic benefits and potential for the fence to blend with foliage. The applicant assured the committee of the fence’s limited visibility from the street. Concerns for pet safety and containment were common threads in public comments, emphasizing the fences’ practical importance.

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Additionally, Andrea Warl Cronin sought approval for a wood and chain-link fence on Pquad Circle. The use of chain-link was debated, with one committee member surprised by previous approvals for such fencing. The possibility of holding a work session with the committee’s lawyer to address executive session concerns and the open meeting law was also contemplated.

The meeting took a procedural turn as members discussed the potential change of meeting time to 6:30 p.m. for convenience and debated the enforcement of historic district regulations. A property on Route 6A was allegedly in non-compliance with its application, prompting a discussion about issuing a violation letter and the imposition of fines for non-compliance. The authority to impose fines was reinforced by reference to a case where fines had been effective in ensuring adherence to rules.

Further, the committee examined the responsibilities of the building inspector in enforcing the historic district act. Members expressed concerns over the severity of potential fines and suggested a period for violators to correct issues before fines were levied. Issues with the building department issuing permits without committee approval were also raised, highlighting the need for stricter oversight and adherence to preservation standards.

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Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Town Administrator:
Robert L. Whritenour
Housing Authority Officials:
Lorraine Doyle, Marcia Bissell, Lee Hamilton, Andrew Krauss, Myra Suchenicz

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