Sunday, April 10, 2011

Searing the solar farm

video

Yes this is the same Diana Spurgin who fours years ago was treasurer of the 'Amherst Plan Committee' a band of soccer moms, well paid academics and 'Amherst Center' types pushing a $2.5 million "Three Year Plan" tax Override hatched by our Finance Committee, at the time toothless watchdogs who acted more like lapdogs for town officials.

And of course their main propaganda pitch, as usual, was to shame taxpayers into voting yes for the collective common good especially for the sake of the children, who attend one of the most expensive public school systems in the state.

Ahh, but when it comes to a creating a higher-and-better use for town property, a deal that could benefit the common good by $1 million per year while reducing our carbon footprint, don't disturb the tranquility near my backyard (an unlined landfill).

Today's Sunday Republican reports

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

OK, Ms. Spurgin has concerns about what's going on in her back yard. Fair enough.

We won't criticize her about her tone; we won't claim that she is "bullying" town employees. We won't flood the Bulletin with letters attacking her.

Hopefully, she may see the irony in her and her husband's criticism of others who looked to reform a school system in all of our back yard, one that we felt was not serving poor kids adequately, one that wealthier families were increasingly viewing as inadequate for their kids, one that has a trimester system and curricular choices that we believed needed to be reexamined. These were concerns we had, and the elected officials with "predetermined agendas" to address them were beaten up for their tone. Now that movement is effectively dead.

Now the Spurgins want us to listen to them about this project. OK, fair enough.

LarryK4 said...

Nah, I don't think she will get ANY of that.

Anonymous said...

How many town residents in that room do you suppose voted in the last town election?

How many have contacted their designated Town Meeting members?

How many know who their Town Meeting members are?

You snooze, you lose......or, in this case, you wake up screaming.

LarryK4 said...

Considering the most recent local election had no Override question, or Charter change ballot question and since CAS, the anti-Christ was not running for School Committee reelection, it's a pretty safe bet that the roomfull of folks perfectly reflected our pathetic 8.5% turnout.

Thank God Town Meeting oversight on this important issue, uniike the equally important Gateway Project, will only require a simple majority vote.

Anonymous said...

If the solar farm in the landfill lowers property values of those neighboring homes, say good bye to the high property taxes the town gets off those homes. As much as the rest of you socialists like to slam the expensive homes in Amherst, the kids in the public schools benefit greatly from that areas property taxes. Say good bye to that money if the property values sink. Hey, if solar farms are such a great idea, lets put put some on the town common and the south common too.

Anonymous said...

Why does the solar array require the landfill to be re-opened and have more toxic psticide-tainted dirt added ... to these people's backyards? That is sadly another aspect of this - their backyards will be more polluted by his plan.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 8:33 - While I have no personal objections to having solar farms on any of our commonlands, it's the height of hypocracy for politically correct, kumbaya Amherst residents to value their views out the kitchen window over a terrific ecological benefit. Yeah, maybe their property taxes will go down. I sure as hell wish my property taxes would go down. For my little cottage-in-the-woods I pay nearly $5000 a year to the town. Plus those goddamn overrides. Our kids have a fantastic school system. A decrease in a few folks property taxes won't change that. Not at the rates the town is charging. Get a grip, man.

LarryK4 said...

If living next to an old unlined landfill does not lower your property value I sincerely doubt living next to a nifty new solar farm will do it.

Anonymous said...

There are about 63 homes abutting the landfill. They're high end homes, high property taxes. Mine doesn't abutt the landfill and my property taxes are about $10k a year. 63 homes times $10k is $630k a year the town gets off property taxes from those homes, forever. Cut that in half, forever, and there go your small classroom sizes, arts programs in the public schools, teacher pay raises. You think any of them are going to vote for an override ever again, or for that matter any of the rest of us even near the area?

Anonymous said...

nimbys will always find a way to spin their reasons to object to a project to cover up the Not in MY back yard ... They bought a house next to an old landfill (once called a dump)and an auto recyling center (junk yard) with god knows what was allowed to be put in there over the years.. but the realtor said its the new upscale place to live

LarryK4 said...

So you're saying that out of the 4,000 owner-occupied homes in Amherst town officials should bend over backwards (while perched on BANANA peels) to appease 1.5%, only 63 homes total?

Oh, excuse me, I meant to say "high end homes".

Xenos said...

"63 homes times $10k is $630k a year the town gets off property taxes from those homes, forever."

Are you stoned? You think a solar array is going to cut property values by 50%

Did you notice how much 64 Harkness Rd sold for, after nearly 3 years on the market? Maybe it was the obnoxiousness of some neighbors that cut that property value so severely.

Some idiots buy spec-built McMansions on Dayton Lane, practically within the landfill itself, and now they are getting pissy about a solar array? What would they prefer - that the land be left to rot and leach, with no income source to pay for mitigation?

LarryK4 said...

Oddly enough we have not YET heard from Dayton Lane (and let's hope Augusten Burroughs doesn't pick up a pair of scissors); these NIMBYs are mostly from Tanglewood Road.

The town already paid Mariam Dayton $80,000 a few years back for landfill related issues.

Anonymous said...

Let me now express my eternal gratitude to all those owners of "high end homes". You really should have the most to say about what goes on in all of Amherst. After all, you pay the most. Makes sense.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, and we see how well that theory worked out for the Lincoln Avenue Blockade folks.

Anonymous said...

Am I alone in thinking that the money saved from selling the credits, along with the newly generated property tax, might save some jobs down the line?
Do the but-in-ers, excuse me, abutters care if The Town lays off more people?
People who could potentially LOSE their own homes!!

Anonymous said...

"If living next to an old unlined landfill does not lower your property value I sincerely doubt living next to a nifty new solar farm will do it."
- not true Larry. The old landfill is a grassy open-spaced dog walking park. The solar farm will probably be circled with chain-link fence. It is like an industrial use. And Spurgin's house has a small back yard, but a great view over the whole old landfill. I understand her personal problem, but it's too bad for her.

LarryK4 said...

Well the assessor is on record stating that scenic views of the Mount Holyoke Range from South East street or Bay Road does NOT increase property values.

So if God should suddenly pulverize that scenic view, property owners would NOT get a tax abatement (assuming they survive collateral damage.)

Anonymous said...

If the NIMBYs from Potwine bond with the NIMBYs from Orchard Valley and then bond with the NIMBYs from Gateway and then bond with the NIMBYs on South East Street and then bond with the NIMBYs on Larkspur and then bond with the NIMBYs around the landfill, can anything get done in this town?

Oh, I forgot, the schools are great.

LarryK4 said...

Fortunately they tend to stick to issues only impacting their immediate neighborhood. (All except for Mother Mary Streeter of course.)

Ed said...

I suggest all google "Love Canal" -- and/or do a little bit of sampling before taking your dogs across the old landfill. There might be things in that grass that you don't know about, like heavy metals....

Dale said...

That was what I was thinking of as well Ed. I can't imagine what might be lurking beneath the soil of the former dump. They make it sound like this is prestine land and we should all spin in ephoria break out in a chorus of "The hills are alive with the sound of music".

Anonymous said...

Oh those lightening strikes. How do you sleep now?

Anonymous said...

Yeh really, and where does that bit of tech. wisdom come from? Please state some references to solar panel energy and lightening strikes Ms. Spurgin. I'm sure the people that designed these types of things have concidered this in their designs, as panels are found on houses, and most if not all the colleges are using them for power and research studies. Why are we not hearing more about the terror lightening strikes?

Anonymous said...

Love Canal is probably not a good comparison for the landfill. Love Canal was the site of a chemical factory and a military waste dump, according to Wikipedia. I don't think our landfill had those types of sources.

Ed said...

Love Canal was the site of a chemical factory and a military waste dump, according to Wikipedia. I don't think our landfill had those types of sources.

It was the landfill for a state university that was (a) doing a lot of DOD research (and still does, folks...) and (b) big time into agriculture until at least the 1970s. Anyone care to speak of all the HazMat issues encountered in building the new UMPD station? And that was just NEAR where they had horses, not at the designated "safe/appropriate" place to dump the wastes. And wasn't there a guy at UMass who was researching Anthrax -- where do you think his trash went????

Lots of heavy metals were used in agriculture, the lead/arsnic mix for apples is by no means the most toxic, a lot of things like Chromium were used on horses' hoofs and UMass taught people how to do it -- gotta wonder how many batches were mixed wrong by a student and discarded at the dump....

Also, if I am not mistaken, Amherst has a different type of underlying clay soil (and no water table) which means that anything truly nasty won't sink down and leach away, but also won't go anywhere at all....

And isn't this landfill posted "No Trespassing" in the first place? Why isn't that being enforced -- it would be were it UMass students having a good time on it....

Folks -- you really should stay the h*ll off the old landfill!!!!

Ed said...

OK, Ms. Surgin, a 51-year-old woman who moved to Amherst from Wellsley Hills -- finding a cheaper house out here than she ever would there. A cheaper house right next to a landfill.

Kinda makes me think of the people on Lincoln Ave who found cheaper houses right next to 30,000 undergraduates and then complained about the noise.

Right...

Sue the person from whom you bought the home if he/she/it didn't mention the old dump -- that is what title insurance is for. But don't buy a cheap house and then ask the town to boost your resale value....

Ms. Spurgin, you really am making me cry about how badly life and the Brave New People's Republic of Amherst is treating you. Wanna trade????

Ed said...

Oh those lightening strikes. How do you sleep now?

Any idea how often the Southwest Towers -- right next to where I live - get hit by lightning? Get hit during the course of a single storm?

What happens is real simple -- structural steel conducts electricity quite well and as long as the highest thing is grounded (and is a good conductor --- which is why we now have those two ground wires ABOVE the three high tension wires running through the woods) lightning is going to hit the ground wire and be very happy to be grounded and not cause any problems....

As long as they ground these solar arrays (and that means comply with code), I don't think there is any concern about lightening. Now as to the footings, that is another issue...

Anonymous said...

LarryK4 said...
Well the assessor is on record stating that scenic views of the Mount Holyoke Range from South East street or Bay Road does NOT increase property values.


that's bullshit. put some billboards across Holyoke range and see who wants to buy into those views. it is called mutability in regional planning terms.

bach

Anonymous said...

I am for the solar array in that location, assuming it wont break the landfill cap.

However I oppose using the permit to bring in Atkins contaminated soil to that landfill, until the town is willing to investigate the claims of what else was put in that landfill.

Atkins should spend the money needed to bring their dirty soil somewhere else.

No dirty soil in anyone's backyard in Amherst.

LarryK4 said...

A tad late for that. They live next to an unlined landfill.

Anonymous said...

so Larry - are you ok with adding to (and increasing) the landfill without public discussion?

LarryK4 said...

They are not reopening the landfill for business. The town is doing state ordered repair work. And the DEP approved use of the contaminated soil, with conditions.

Where do you think that soil has been these past 75 years or so? In lots of people's backyard here in South Amherst.

Anonymous said...

It's nice that no one told the neighborhood what was coming. Otherwise they would feel like their government had some respect for them.

Anonymous said...

Guess she will no longer be able to plant her vegetable garden in the arsenic tainted soil...

at the DUMP!