Sunday, June 19, 2011

Solar in South Amherst

Looking east towards new storage facility (in red)

While not nearly as ambitious as the controversial 4.75 megawatt Solar Farm proposed for the towns' old landfill, the solar facility west of the new storage shed at Atkins Farm Market will provide all the power needs of the bustling business and with state and federal governments falling all over themselves to provide tax breaks and grants, probably a cost effective installation as well.

Since no homeowners are within sitelines of the modest installation and it is being constructed on private land not currently used for jogging, dog walking or nesting by a threatened species of tweety bird chances are, unlike the town Solar Farm, it will fly through the permitting process.

Atkins (founded 1887) is one of those rare private sector, for profit, businesses that is Politically Correct enough to easily negotiate the deadly Amherst permitting process, having recently won a coveted beer and wine license from the Amherst Select Board and property tax breaks from Town Meeting.

After all, farms have relied on sunlight forever.
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Amherst Planning Board

July 6, 7:05 PM - 8:05 PM

PUBLIC HEARING: 7:05 pm. LOCATION: Town Room, Town Hall. LIST OF TOPICS: SPR2011-00010/M9393, 1150 West Street - Pauline Lannon c/o Atkins Farm Market. Request site plan approval to construct a 48 KW ground-mounted photovoltaic array system with a 6 ft. tall vinyl-coated chainlink fence, west of the new warehouse, as an accessory use.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear! Now, Larry, tell me how (in South Amherst) I can get cost effective gummint grants to put solar on my house!

LarryK4 said...

Actually I think the town and BlueWave were also talking about solar panels on town buildings (schools mainly) AND individual houses.

Anonymous said...

Just curious: why isn't Atkins putting these right
on their store rooftop?

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more, Larry. See how easy it is when people do the right thing and don't put an industrial site in people's backyard, don't risk environmental damage to a sensitive landfill, and don't try to ram it through without regard to other people's property values for the houses they spent hundreds of thousand of their hard earned dollars for. Just shows that when you do it the right way, suddenly there are no nimbys.

LarryK4 said...

There are major differences in that Atkins is a private entity and they own the land.

The only two entities close enough to see the solar installation are Applewood Retirement and Eric Carle Museum--both of whom purchased their property from Atkins.

Atkins is going through the same public process as the town (actually one far, far easier.)

The old landfill is not exactly a "sensitive landfill" and the wear and tear brought on by soccer fields would be far greater than that of a Solar Farm.

If buying a large expensive house next to an unlined landfill did not hurt your property value, I don't think a shiny new solar array is going to do it.

Anonymous said...

Really? Then by all means put hundreds of sola panels behind your backyard and enjoy the buzzing from the electric boxes.

LarryK4 said...

I live contiguous with the DPW (best neighbors you could ask for, but not exactly silent).

Unlike the DPW, the solar panels make no noise whatsoever after dark.

Anonymous said...

Was the DPW there before you bought your house? If so, your house valuation already reflected that fact.

LarryK4 said...

Was the big old unlined landfill there before you bought yours?

Anonymous said...

Yup, and the town represented that it would be used for light recreation. If they had said it was for the DPW I wouldn't have bought it.

LarryK4 said...

And you have that in writing? A legal agreement between little old you and the town?

Anonymous said...

Don't need one because our town is honest and lives up to its word. Unless you are sugggesting otherwise.

LarryK4 said...

I'm suggesting you had a deal between yourself, a developer and a real estate agent.

Amherst had a deal between the town and the DEP.

The DEP has to approve the use of the old landfill as a Solar Farm. They will not do so if it's illegal or endangers the environment.

Anonymous said...

Never met the developer. I just went by everything that the town said when they closed the landfill and moved across the street. Convenient how you have amnesia all of a sudden. Shall we dig out all the Amherst Bulletins from when the landfill closed. Let's see what the town said then. They are going to look like fools in court when all the past public statements are read into the record.

LarryK4 said...

When dealing with real estate what people said is of no consequence. Get it in writing.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the town say, in writing, that it would protect the landfill for recreational use? Didn't it take state funds in exchange for that promise? Does that promise mean anything? Shouldn't it?

If the current town employees can flaunt past promises made by the town, what does their word mean now? Who would trust anything they say--or the legal documents they sign?

The town is supported by taxes paid by its residents -- residents who also pay state taxes. Local and state employees work for citizens and they are bound to follow laws and the legal instrments -- just like us.

Larry, your position is insupportable.

LarryK4 said...

Oh I think my position has plenty of support. Take Town Meeting, for instance (please!) where your arguments lost by a historically HUGE margin.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon 2:39. Because of the way the Town of Amherst so cavalierly dealth and continues to deal with the requirement that the land be used only for recreation I am extremely hesitant to trust anything they say.

Anonymous said...

I don't know much about what was signed and what is hear say. But did anyone bring these documents to the Selectboard meeting? I'm just curious because that is the first thing I'd throw at the town if they indeed signed any legally bound document that expresses land use. If there is no such document signed by the town, but more of a verbal by either the developer, builders, or the town then you've probably been had and don't have much recourse. This day in age everyone should know the days of a good word and a firm hand are long gone, and you need everything in a iron clad contract that has all the proper signatures, and often that doesn't even save you.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that no one on the Select Board is looking at this issue. Or anyone from the planning department or conservation. Why the silence?

Anonymous said...

The town did more than a hand shake. It agreed with the state that it would only use the land for recreation in exchange for state money. The town accepted that money, which is stone cold proof of that agreement. Town meeting can vote however it wants, it won't be the first time that those lemmings drove the town off an expensive cliff. The only difference is that this time Larry is one of those lemmings.

LarryK4 said...

Actually there Anon 3:58 PM, if you were paying attention the Select Board went into executive session last week to "discuss litigation strategy".

So I'm sure they spent a fair amount of time "looking at this issue".

But, unlike some people, they are not dumb enough to come here and telegraph the plan.

Anonymous said...

Please let it go.

The state/town might have thought that recreation on the landfill was a good idea in the 80s, but they don't think that now.

Times change. Priorities change.

It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

So instead of collecting information and talking about a key issue with the community, they are behind closed doors getting briefed and preparing to spend tens of thousands of dollars. Hmmmmm. Is this leadership?

LarryK4 said...

Well when they did have an open public hearing the first week of April to take input and explain their position, the natives were a tad restless.

Anonymous said...

You mean, when they announced the project as a fait accompli?

LarryK4 said...

Umm, I mean the public hearing held before they went to Town Meeting and before going to the DEP with a mountain of paperwork still required and before going to the Zoning Board of Appeals who will have to approve it.

And if you remember (or maybe you just bought your house within the past 9 years or so) the ZBA turned down the town ten years ago for expanding the height of the newer landfill, thus bringing about its closure.

Anonymous said...

Well, that was a lot of public process. The select board must be exhausted.

Anonymous said...

"Really? Then by all means put hundreds of solar panels behind your backyard and enjoy the buzzing from the electric boxes.

Anon. June 19, 2011 9:08 PM"

I know this is hard, but try to remember, it's actually *not* your backyard.

Anonymous said...

"Sustainable" in Amherst really means "my sustainable property values".

The good of the whole community? Nah.

This little roachy went to market... said...

June 25, 2011 9:59 AM


Nowwwwww we're finally getting it...


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