PEPPERELL -- In a follow-up to Monday night's meeting with representatives from Kinder Morgan, selectmen discussed Tuesday night the information they still wanted to receive from the company before voting on a stance on a proposed natural gas pipeline.
The proposed pipeline route would cut through Pepperell, as well as other surrounding towns, to deliver gas to New England customers.
Despite urging from one resident at the Board of Selectmen meeting, Chairman Michael Green said that he was looking to get as much information as possible before voting on whether to allow Kinder Morgan to survey town-owned properties for the pipeline.
That information included why other routes along highways or existing pipelines weren't being pursued, how it could affect the town's water supply if an accident were to take place and the safety of the pipeline.
"If a gas line has to go through our town I can accept it. But if it has to happen, I'm going to make sure I know as much as possible to get the most value for Pepperell out of it," Green said.
Green said that while he wasn't enthusiastic about having a gas line going through town, he understood that the growing need for energy meant the pipeline would have to go somewhere.
"Natural gas use is expanding, therefore the supply has to expand. It really stinks that it has to expand through our town, but if that's it we have to accept it and we have to live with it," Green said.
Selectman Stephen Themelis reiterated the stance he took Monday night, which was that he could not support the pipeline because of the anxiety and financial hardship it could impose on residents.
"I can't support the project. From the grave concerns I heard from the residents at both meetings (Monday night's meeting and a meeting hosted by the Nashoba Conservation Trust last Wednesday) we need a lot of answers from Kinder Morgan," Themelis said.
Resident Phil Durno said the townspeople were looking for selectmen to take a stance.
"You're elected by the taxpayers in this town. The taxpayers in this town don't want it," Durno said of the pipeline.
In other business, selectmen voted 3-0 to approve an affordable-housing production plan with no discussion, despite concerns raised by Green at their last meeting about the lack of demand for affordable housing in Pepperell.
The plan, which details a five-year blueprint to move toward a goal of having 10 percent of the town's housing options be affordable, must also be approved by the Planning Board before being submitted to the state.
A hearing on proposed changes to the town's liquor-license rules and regulations was continued pending more consideration from selectmen.
The change would require attendees of rental functions at private clubs to be signed in by a member if they choose to stay at the club after the function ends.
The issue was raised after a customer was allegedly overserved at the Pepperell VFW last December. His time at the bar could not be documented because he had not signed in after a rental function ended. Selectmen took no action against the VFW, determining that they were not at fault, but said they should consider amending the regulation.
Green said Tuesday that the board had to be careful not to rewrite the regulation based only on that incident.
"We can't look at just their specific case, we have to write the regulation for anybody," Green said.
No date has been set for the continued hearing.
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