WELD — The Weld Advisory Committee (WAC) is seeking the vision and voices of those with ties to the town as it begins to update existing ordinances and draft new ones.

Convened by the Selectmen, the committee was asked to advise the board on updating the Building Ordinance to a Site Plan Ordinance, drafting a Cell Tower Ordinance, and updating the Comprehensive Plan’s Scenic Resources inventory. Committee members  are Russ Banton, Maurine Miller, Heidi Stowell Nichols, Sara Shifrin, Dan Smith, Nancy Stowell, and Ina Toth.

Changing the Building Ordinance is a result of the cellphone tower AT&T plans to build on Route 142. There was nothing in Weld’s ordinances to prohibit the tower, Planning Board Chairman Naomi Doughty said during an informational meeting on the proposal held last July. The only reason a building permit was needed was because the tower is more than 10 feet tall, she said then.

WAC has created a Scenic Resource and Viewsheds survey for seasonal or year-round residents to complete. Separate responses from multi-generations of families are encouraged by the committee. The link to the survey is https://forms.gle/J6VkxzxD3Zp26D2u9.

At a WAC meeting held via Zoom on Oct. 12, at least 20 people provided initial suggestions.

“We’re trying to understand collectively what Weld folks value so we can determine what we want to preserve and how we script our town ordinances to preserve the integrity of our collective value system as Weld citizens,” Shifrin said. She shared some of the changes that have come to Weld over time, noting that some were planned and others not.

Characteristics that wow or stand out to meeting participants included:

• Watching moose, the wildlife corridors

• Views of Tumbledown and other mountains

• Bird songs, the call of loons

• Being a small town, its people

• Low key, almost nothing commercial

• Quiet, peaceful

• The lake, its watersheds and the state parks, ice skating at night

• Previous generations have prioritized conservation, legacy of peace has become a central value

• Lack of noisy truck traffic

• Stars, dark nights

“Weld has been discovered,” Nichols said after one participant expressed concerns that Weld could become a community for the rich, similar to what happened in Nantucket, Massachusetts, a few decades after World War II. There is potential for Weld to change dramatically, she said.

“That may be what people want, that’s why we’re having this discussion,” Nichols said.

Viewsheds and landscapes identified as having value included:

• Center Hill turnout, parking lot

• Coming into town from Phillips and Wilton

• View of Mt. Blue

• West Brook Road for biking

• Visible stone walls and foundations

• Old-growth trees

• Two community accessible springs

• Tumbledown range

• Town cemeteries

• The lake and the many brooks, streams that feed into it

“If you were magic, what is that one thing you would wish to preserve,” Shifrin asked.

Items noted included:

• Water quality

• Lake not being overcrowded

• Bowl affect (changing weather patterns observable)

• Small businesses, no franchises

• Farms, farmstands

• The night sky

The Building Ordinance is changing to a Site Plan Ordinance and part of that is a list of important viewsheds, views or historic sites, Shifrin said. The new ordinance will be put to the voters for approval, she added.

Suggestions for restrictions to include in the new ordinance included:

• Height

• Noise

• Light

• Solar farms

• Airbnbs

WAC will correlate the survey results, Shifrin said. “We must prioritize them.”

For more information on the WAC, email [email protected].

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