Wendell voters reject cleanup vote, adopt solar and battery storage moratoriums

Staff Writer
Published: 12/3/2021 3:18:47 PM
Modified: 12/3/2021 3:18:50 PM

WENDELL — Voters at Wednesday’s Special Town Meeting opted not to adopt an article asking them to pay to clean a property Wendell has been dealing with for at least five years.

Residents convening at Town Hall voted 39 to 21 against the article to transfer from the stabilization fund $30,000 to pay for junk removal and site cleanup at 131 Wendell Depot Road. Abutters of the property, which is owned by Andrew Hamilton, have become concerned about their well-being and their water supply as a result of the hoarding situation there. The town has spent $1,000 in the past few weeks on legal expenses regarding the property.

“It’s an unlicensed junkyard, really,” Acting Town Coordinator Doug Tanner said on Thursday. When asked what this vote means for the property, Tanner said Hamilton “has court problems” and “we’ll see what happens.”

Building Inspector Phil Delorey issued Hamilton a cease and desist order on Nov. 14, 2016.

Attempts to contact Hamilton were unsuccessful.

Duke’s LLC of Amherst had been tapped to remove the junk and debris from the property if the article had been adopted.

Tanner said he is pleased the issue came down to a citizens’ vote.

“People had really, really good questions,” he said, “which is something I really like about Wendell Town Meetings.”

Wednesday’s voters went on to adopt two moratorium articles, one pertaining to large-scale and extra-large-scale ground-mounted, non-residential, non-personal and/or commercial-use solar installations and the other having to do with the new principal use of land for commercial battery storage installations. Each moratorium will last 11½ months, but “shall not apply to previously approved specially permitted projects provided that any such amendment shall not increase the footprint,” the meeting warrant states.

Voters took no action on three articles pertaining to the Municipal Light Plant’s Enterprise Fund retained earnings because the state has not yet certified the Municipal Light Plant’s financial data.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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