PEPPERELL — Full liquor licenses, wind power, and expanded rights to set up pet day-care operations are all being proposed on the warrant at this year’s Annual Town Meeting, which will begin on Monday, May 3.

Liquor Licenses

The Board of Selectmen currently has authority to issue beer-and-wine licenses, but it’s looking for a bylaw change that would allow full liquor licenses.

Board Chairman Joe Sergi said it’s a matter of economic development. Officials want to both attract full service restaurants and assist local eateries. He cited a recent study that indicated $74 million of consumer dollars leave Pepperell each year, saying their goal is keep more of those dollars local.

“Restaurant owners have told us loud and clear that a full liquor license is a draw,” said Sergi. “We determined now is the time to make that a reality.

Asked about the possibility of this article leading to a proliferation of bars in Pepperell, Sergi said the intent is to supplement operations that primarily serve food, saying the town could regulate that through zoning.

Issuance of the licenses is at the discretion of the selectmen. Under the state’s population-based formula, Pepperell can issue up to five liquor licenses.

The liquor license question is Article 8 on the warrant. Technically, the board is seeking permission to petition the Legislature for a green-light to put the item on the ballot this fall. Should those hurdles be passed, the town could begin issuing the licenses as early as 2011.

The article was endorsed by the finance committee.

Wind Power

Converting wind power into energy is not currently allowed under Pepperell’s bylaws, but a pair of bylaw amendment are looking to change that, explained town Planning Administrator Susan Snyder.

“It’s an entirely new bylaw,” she said. “It’s currently not allowed; that’s why we have to implement the bylaw.

The majority of those changes are spelled out in Article 19, which establishes definitions, permitting standards and other rules for wind power in Pepperell. Wind-power facilities are divided into three basic categories under the proposed amendments, which are as follows:

* Small scale facilities, which are up 65 feet high and would be allowed in any of the town’s zoning districts

* Large scale facilities, range from 65 to 450 feet high, and would be allowed via special permit in any of the town’s zoning districts

* Utility scale facilities, a commercial conversion facility, which would be used to sell electricity or power a private facility. This would allow be allowed in the town’s industrial district, and then only be special permit.

Under the proposed bylaw, wind-power facilities would have a setback requirement of 1.5 times the overall height of the structure, though that stipulation can be waived if all other requirements are met. In the case of special permits, the Planning Board would also have discretion to determine if the site is appropriate or if it would create a hazard or nuisance.

The regulations also set forth safety and environmental standards, which include establishment of an emergency response plan, measures to limit the shadow/ flicker impact on neighbors, and compliance with state sound requirements.

Article 18 would add wind conversion facilities to the list of permitted uses in town.


There are three citizen-petition articles on warrant, which seek to redefine “commercial kennels” and “accessory pet day care facility” under the local zoning, and allow the latter throughout the town.

Those operations are currently restricted to the commercial and industrial zones, and Snyder said the Planning Board is opposing these articles because they believe the current configuration is sufficient to meet the needs to the community.

“The proposed changes raise questions of noise and neighborhood safety,” she said. “That is why the Planning Board does not recommend it.”

More specifically, Article 22 proposes defining commercial kennels as an establishment where “four or more dogs, three months old or older, or other domestic animal are housed for more than 12 hours, groomed, bred, boarded, trained, or sold, all for a fee or compensation.”

Article 23 proposes defining accessory pet day-care facilities as “premises consisting of a minimum of two acres at which care is provide for domesticated household pets during the day and may include the provision of pet training services for a fee or compensation.”

Article 24 would keep accessory pet day care as a permitted use in the commercial and industrial area, and make it subject to special permit under the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The warrant also includes a number of other nonfinancial items, which are as follows:

* Article 16 proposes increasing a number of fees at the town clerk’s office. The proposal, would have varying impact 20 types of certificates and licenses, in most cases raising fees from $5 to $10.

The proposal was put forward by retiring Town Clerk Lois Libby, who said fees have remained unchanged during her 24 years tenure. She said these hikes are intended to recover more costs of operating the clerk’s office, saying it would increase the clerk’s revenue by $8,528, or roughly 30 percent.

* Article 13 proposes an amendment to the town’s personnel bylaw, which would eliminate a 30-day waiting period before town employees get paid holidays.

* Article 15 proposes amending the personnel bylaw to account for the ambulance service’s planned transition to paramedic level service. The change would substituted “paramedic” for “EMT” in the bylaw. It would not cost the town any additional money in 2010.

* Article 20 proposes amending town bylaws governing the Water Resource Protection Overlay District. Snyder said adoption of this article would incorporate some “very minor” changes, to include areas recommended for protection by a 1985 study. Similarly Article 21 proposes adding those changes to the town’s zoning map.

* Article 28 proposes easements for four properties near the Mill Street bridge rehabilitation project. Department of Public Works Director Bob Lee said MassHighway is funding reconstruction of Mill Street Bridge, and needs the easements from neighboring landowners to do the work.

* There are three road acceptance articles on the warrant, which propose the town take ownership and responsibly for Julia Lane, Beaver Creek Circle, and Parker Hill Way. The articles are 29,30, and 31.

* There are two articles relating to updates of the town’s flood plain management regulations. Article 32 proposes acceptance of the 2010 flood map update, as compiled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Article 33 proposes amending the definition of Flood Hazard Areas to have language there fit with the update, said town engineer Bob Lee.

Lee added that acceptance of the FEMA updates were important, if the town wants continue access to flood insurance.

“That has to be done because if the town does not accept these changes, the town would not be able to participate in the FEMA flood program,” said Lee.