CHATHAM–The Town of Chatham is now a Climate Smart Community, embracing a state program that offers guidance about energy efficiency and green technology. At their meeting on Thursday, July 16, the board passed a resolution to join the program.
Robyn Reynolds, a representative from the Climate Smart Communities program, stressed to the board that there was no obligation to join. “This is really a recognition program,” she said. She told the board there was no legal risks in signing up for the program and penalties if the town doesn’t participate.
“Once you sign up you can do as little you like,” said Ms. Reynolds. The program is offered by the state Departments of Environmental Conservation, Health, State and Transportation as well as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Public Service Commission. There is no cost to the town.
According to the paperwork the board received on the program at their meeting in June, the goal of the program “is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save taxpayer money through climate-smart actions that improve energy independence, economic vitality and resiliency to extreme weather.”
Ms. Reynolds answered questions from the board about reaching the goals set forth in the program’s resolution, about lowering greenhouse gas emissions, finding renewable energy sources, and involving the community in reducing energy use. She talked about other communities, like the City of Troy, that have signed up for the program and how they have moved forward.
She also said that there was funding available for some projects now that the town has joined the program. Ms. Reynolds specifically mentioned funding for updating local zoning.
“We should go back and tie it to our Comprehensive Plan,” said Town Board member Jean Rohde of the resolution. The town passed a new Comprehensive Plan several years ago and a board appointed committee has been working on updating the town’s zoning so the laws conform to the new plan. Those changes include reviewing the Environmental Protection Overlay District and issues with ridgelines.
Jan Storm, from the Citizens for Climate Change Lobby, who was at the board meeting, urged the board members to join the program, saying “Chatham could be a leader,” in getting other municipalities in the county to sign up.
All five board members voted in favor of the Climate Smart Communities resolution.
Also at the meeting the board:
- The board approved a resolution that details the issues behind and the reasons for “denying the application of Adam Slone/Life Serve Youth Foundation for a hardship waiver from moratorium Local Law #1 of 2015.” The board held two special meetings last month to make a decision on Mr. Slone’s hardship request to build tennis courts for a tennis camp on this Thomas Road property while there is a moratorium in place that prohibits construction projects on properties served by unpaved town roads. The board voted to deny the request for a waiver at the second June meeting
- Authorized requests for proposals for a new comptroller. The board is hoping to appoint a new person or an accounting firm to the position by mid-August.
The next board meeting will be Thursday, August 20 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .