Voters take issue with solar projects
- posted on August 21, 2018
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For the Gazette
Hundreds attended the meeting at the high school, which was called by a citizen petition circulated by the
By a margin of just nine votes, residents voted 162-153 not to rescind the Select Board’s authority to negotiate a “payment in lieu of taxes” (PILOT) agreement with Syncarpha Community Solar.
After much debate, neighbors made their opposition to the project known while town officials stressed the need for new sources of revenue.
“You’re already counting the money,”
Syncarpha Community Solar has proposed two solar arrays on six parcels of land, covering 101 acres along
Those opposed to the PILOT agreement said they hoped a “Yes” vote would at least slow the project down, while town officials said the vote would have no effect on the project’s ability to move forward.
“It’s hard to vote against solar. It’s just one of those up-and-coming things,” said
“It’s annoying that this can happen,” Fifield said, with his young children in tow, unable to find a baby sitter for the evening. “It makes me want to get rid of Town Meeting.”
“This is going to have a direct and dramatic effect,” Rose said of the post-employment benefits problem. “This is going to have a direct impact on our budgets gradually, sort of like a cancer, every year for the next 20 years.”
“The projects described tonight are not so much about being for or against solar or the PILOT agreement or lack thereof, so much as the location,” Brougham said.
Brougham said the seven megawatts of solar power from the Syncarpha arrays would provide the town
Although no change to the PILOT agreement was approved, Town Meeting voted in favor of sending two proposals to the
During the discussion, Brougham informed voters that
“It’s a cynical move designed to get around the will of the democratically elected officials of this town,” said
By submitting the plans, the Syncarpha and BlueWave projects among them, Cowls land is immune from any zoning bylaw changes for the next seven months.
Brougham explained that