Tewksbury Voters Approve Stretch Energy Code
Presence of a consultant at Town Meeting helps answer residents' questions.
A certain amphibian once crooned "It's Not Easy Being Green."
Anne Marie Stronach and the members of her committee might argue it's no 'walk in the park' becoming green either.
On their second appearance before Town Meeting voters, the Green Committee was finally able to win approval of the Stretch Energy Code, the fifth and final criteria needed for the town to be awarded Green Community status.
Approval came via an overwhelming voice vote, Wednesday night in the gymnasium at Tewksbury High.
"I think we did a better job this time getting the message out. We were better prepared," said Stronach. Some of that preparation included a public information campaign to address concerns residents had voiced at the Special Town Meeting last October, when the Stretch Energy Code was defeated.
Also helping the cause was the presence of Mike Berry, consultant from ICF Energy Star and an expert on the Stretch Code. He was granted permission to speak at Town Meeting and answered several questions from voters.
One such question dealt with the requirements on residents, under the code, if they wanted to build an addition on their home. According to Berry, the only added requirement under the Stretch Code is the inclusion of energy efficient windows.
Berry also reiterated a point made earlier in the meeting by Stronach, that that the gap between the present State Building Code and the Stretch Code had narrowed significantly since October.
With the other criteria already met, Stronach and her committee are ready to submit the needed paperwork to the state on June 10. According to Stronach, Tewksbury will be the 54th town in Massachusetts to earn Green Community status. That designation will make the town eligible for certain federal grants, which can be used to help pay for certain energy efficiency aspects of municipal construction projects.
In other votes:
- Town meeting voters approved the rezoning of 25 acres of land between Route 38 and East Street from Residential and Heavy Industry to Multi-Family District. The property is being developed by Arnie Martel and Marc Ginsburg. While official plans have not been submitted for the project, it is believed rezoning was a needed step toward building a condominium development with up to 120 units.
- Voters also approved the acceptance of an open space parcel from the Ames Run subdivision.
- On Monday, voters had overwhelmingly approved the $77.9 million Fiscal Year 2012 Budget. They also approved two articles, which transferred $679,000 into accounts to be used toward balancing the School Department FY 12 Budget.