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After Stretch, Colton Looks To Trees, Sun And A Zip

Victory at Town Meeting has Energy Committee co-chair looking to bring more efficiency measures.

Late last Wednesday night, after the gavel came down to end this year's Town Meeting, Roger Colton was one happy man.

You might go so far as to say Colton – a dignified, scholarly sort of man – was even a bit giddy.

"Does my smile indicate anything?" said the co-chairman of the town's Energy Committee, beaming a bright, wide grin.

And why shouldn't he feel that way? Despite near universal rejection of a proposed by town boards and committees that debated the issue, last week's that will impact mostly construction on a voice vote after nearly an hour of debate. 

"Town Meeting did good. Belmont did good," declared Colton.

And with the energy efficiency victory in his back pocket, Colton said he will be back before the annual and special Town Meetings presenting new and one revised articles to continue to reduce Belmont's greenhouse gas production in its effort to reach 80 percent reduction by 2050 as prescribed in the Town Meeting- approved Climate Action Plan of 2009. 

Colton's initial priority is to return with a revisedn which homeowners and contractors would be required to replace specified 'protected' trees over a specific diameter with trees equaling the one removed or by donating money into a town fund.

The 'tree' article was initially brought before last month's Town Meeting but was withdrawn as the prevailing sentiment was it was heading for a large defeat.

Colton admitted that the original wording was a bit too strident for most people and "it wasn't explained in the right way." 

"It has to be changed," he said, which the energy committee will do over the summer with some prospects that the revised version will be brought before a special fall Town Meeting. 

New on Colton's agenda is increasing the town's commitment to solar power and heating. He told Belmont Patch after the Town Meeting he and his committee will push for solar panels to be installed on town building and schools to supplement the current power supply. 

"I think this is an obvious use for solar panels especially that so many government buildings have them, including the White House," he said.

One of Colton's future proposals that's not likely to face much opposition as 'stretch' and 'tree" is caving out a Zipcar presence in town, specifically in Belmont Center.

Zipcar, the Cambridge-based car sharing and car club service that allows members to take short trips in new cars for a marginal cost, was scheduled to come before the Board of Selectmen but was cancelled due to Town Meetings time constraints. 

"We want to be working with the board in bringing this alternative to owning a car to Belmont," said Colton.

He also said he is interested in talking with residents outside the normal committee and government meeting environment to discuss coming up with new initiatives.

"There is this process where you take a brain storm and turn it into an idea and turn that into a proposal and finally into a practical application. That is something we should be doing more often," said Colton.

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