Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stop the sun from shining

Save the sparrow message fell flat at Town Meeting

Not surprisingly 13 NIMBY residents filed suit in Hampshire Superior Court casting yet another shadow over the old landfill where town officials hope a private company can construct a solar farm, a potential $1 million annual net gain for town taxpayers while reducing our dependence on oil and other bad by-products of energy production.

I suppose if the neighbors can afford the castles that ring the old landfill they can afford Micheal Pill of Shutesbury, a lawyer who specializes in land use issues. Although Mr. Pill did not have shining results--other than delaying the project and running up a tab--when he took on the town over low income housing on Longmeadow Drive at neighbor request, or when Town Meeting rezoned property out on Meadow Street to flood prone conservancy.

In only a few months the neighborhood concerns have ricocheted from (1) 30 or 40 mysterious barrels of potentially dangerous chemicals buried in the old landfill back in the 1970s by DPW workers under orders from a grouchy boss, to (2) lead arsenate soil from the Atkins Road reconstruction project being used to regrade the old landfill cap, to (3) the alleged serious degradation of the protective cap with added weight of solar panels causing a catastrophic crack; and now it's protection of the grasshopper sparrow, a little birdie that is only "rare" and not "endangered".

Obviously NIMBYs will never go extinct--especially in the People's Republic.

Diana Spurgin fell flat at Town Meeting

The Springfield Republican reports (ahead of the Gazette)

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

We can forget about the town building any kind of solar complex on that site anytime soon. Michael Pill is very aptly named - he really is a pill. This will be in litigation not for months to come but for years to come. The town should walk away from this now before spending tens of thousands of dollars.

Anonymous said...

just think what will happen when potential buyers of these McMansions read the false info on the website created by these homeowners. Yes I think they have probably lowered their property values and resale potential

Anonymous said...

Larry,

The preservation of the Muddle-headed Bullshitter is worth fighting for and I'm making my sign right now!

LarryK4 said...

Actually Anon 9:35 AM, that's the plan. It's called "death by delay."

It did not work with the Boltwood Walk Parking Garage or the soccer fields on Potwine Lane, and it will not work now.

What's a lousy "tens of thousands" in legal costs when the deal is worth a million a year for 25 years?

Ed said...

To all -- read the Ward Commission Report on UMass Boston -- also built on an old landfill. The only thing that saved UMB was the sheer luck of being built on the part of the landfill where the demo debris from West Boston was dumped, lots of pipes and brick/masonary stuff and thus fairly solid.

I want someone to tell me what the footings for these solar panels (etc) will be. Exactly how far down will they be required to drive/dig the footings, exactly what will the minimum of them be, etc....

A broken clock tells the right time twice a day, and the NIMBY crowd do have one point -- what will keep all of this stuff from sinking?

Ed said...

Of course, the town could also play hardball -- if there is a rare bird there, then the town needs to put a 6' fence along the property line and keep everyone out so as not to disturb said bird.

Larry needs a new feature "bird-basher of the weekend" -- of the people who would be arrested for trespassing on posted town land...

Who let McMansions be built there, anyway???

Anonymous said...

what was stated in the law suit...what did the neighbors claim was illegal.....their problem if they wasted a lot of money buying a house next to a landfill
and who are the 13??

Anonymous said...

I think they did the right thing. The town government clearly does not care about the residents of Amherst. They keep doing the exact opposite of we ask - those of us who elected them - from Gateway to keeping Lincoln and Sunset open to commercial rush hour traffic ... and this atrocity. I will not re-elect one town official. I would like to see local government that actually represents our best interest - not their agenda.

LarryK4 said...

Well since the Courthouse is only a half mile from Gazette headquarters I was hoping a reporter or editor could mosey on over and do some reporting...

I'll bike over tomorrow and get a copy of the suit.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ed... why don't you read the plan for yourself. It's been on the town's website for months. It is widely known that they are not breaking ground or "driving" anything into the clay cap. The panels are put on concrete pads and once the weight is displaced it is similar to an average person standing on one foot.

Anonymous said...

One thing about this story bugs me. I'm a big supporter of solar power and generally support the landfill-located idea. What I don't understand is why would a developer pay the town $1 million per year to use this site? There are any number of hayfields in Amherst that aren't under any development restriction that anyone can rent for $50 per acre per year. So why are they willing to pay such a huge premium to use town land? What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

Michael Pill was the best these folks could do for an attorney?

Check out his track record.

This speaks volumes about the quality of the ammunition here.

Anonymous said...

... very low calibre!

Ed said...

once the weight is displaced it is similar to an average person standing on one foot.

Which is my concern. The average person standing on one foot -- day and night -- will eventually sink into soft ground. And hence what are they putting *UNDER* these pads to secure them?

Anonymous said...

They chose Michael Pill because he is an attack dog. Once he gets a hold of something he NEVER lets go. That's why I know this will drag on for years.

LarryK4 said...

As did the HAP low income housing project on Longmeadow Drive. I believe they are having a grand opening any day now.

Anonymous said...

Ed,
You need to stick to education. You know nothing of contruction, and the physics involved. You need to do some research on how weight/volume distribution works. Also there are several landfill sites that have done this exact type of project. This will another avenue for you to research. You still have a few months off before you start another semester on your marathon degree. So before you go on another "what about this, what about that rant" come back with some constructive information. Your starting to sound like a broken record playing the same ole song to different subjects. So unless you want to be looked at as the scholar who cried wolf (which you are quickly becoming) do your homework young man!

June 9, 2011

Anonymous said...

Does anyone on this blog care that the town took state money promising to restrict the capped landfill for recreational use? Or is it development anywhere, anytime, anyhow?

BTW- People don't live here looking for sprawl development.

Is there no other town land available for the solar project -- Cherry Hill and it's power transmission cutting across it?

Anonymous said...

Larry,

I think the town is going to lose this one. The fact that the town agreed not to use the land except for recreational purposes in order to secure state money and that it accepted that money shows that the town had made this agreement, whether or not they filed the paper with the registrar of deeds. A judge is going to laugh the "we never filed it" defense right out of court. What's more, the current plaintiffs should file an additonial suit against the town for their failure to do so. Negligence is not a defense. Too bad, as this sounds like an excellent project. It will now become a lawsuit money pit. The twon shouldn't smarten up and move this to the other landfill, which doesn't have that restriction and save us all a lot of money.

LarryK4 said...

I think not.

If the DEP approves of the project they would also forgive-and-forget the deed restriction (or lack thereof) from oh, so very l-o-n-g ago.

Anonymous said...

If federal funds were part of the state money for recreational use, the town could be in hot water since there are a lot of federal restrictions.

How can the town get away with not honoring committments it made in exchange for state money. DEP or another state agency might care, especially the next time the town puts out its hat for state money to protect land.

LarryK4 said...

As long as solar power is used to create the "hot water," it's fine by me.

Anonymous said...

Idea:

The Hawthorne Farm NIMBYs want a [community] farm, not recreational fields.

The old landfill NIMBYs want recreational fields, not a [solar] farm.

Can't they just trade places?

Anonymous said...

What's interesting about the suit is whose name is NOT on there as plaintiffs.

Some neighbors had the decency not to want to drag this out.

Salute.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I noticed that as well.

Anonymous said...

"What's interesting about the suit is whose name is NOT on there as plaintiffs."

I'll bet you dollars-to-pesos the Spurgins are unnamed conspirators in this lawsuit, but are having their neighbors do the dirty work, so that they can continue to be "de facto" civic leaders.

Anonymous said...

Could we please actually know WHO are the plantiffs in the suit?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand your position on this? I understand being pro solar power, but the real issue is if the town gives it's word on something and then later tries to back out by citing it's own lack of compliance with that word, it seems to me you should be on the side of holding the town accountable. Don't get lead astray by the solar power issue, because next time it happens it won't be about something as wonderful as solar power. Otherwise you are just supporting the ends justify the means. That approach doesn't bode well for any of us.

LarryK4 said...

"Methinks thou doth protest too much."

Anonymous said...

Methinks thou art a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

so suddenly it's okay for the town to take public money and NOT use it for it said it would do? aren't you all for public accountibility? how do other state taxpayers feel about that?

LarryK4 said...

They will think you're a NIMBY grasping at straws, but probably are to nice to say so.

Anonymous said...

You are mister by the rule book all day long and now that you've decided you like the project that goes out the window. So much for integrity.

LarryK4 said...

If that were the case I would not publish your selfish comments.

Anonymous said...

I gotcha. If instead of the solar project the town proposed an outdoor amphitheatre for the performance of the Vagina Monologues you would still think the town was right to violate the state agreement. Sure.

LarryK4 said...

Hell, they could even build a 9-hole-golf course and call it 'Cherry Mound'.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a neighbor and I am fully in support of the solar farm.

But, it also true that the "Amherst Open Space and Recreation Master Plan"--2009 edition--shows the old landfill as a "Recreation Focus Area".

See http://www.amherstma.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=2363

LarryK4 said...

And Jed Clampett was hunting for some food, when up from the ground came a bubbling crude.

Anonymous said...

Larry,

You are in complete denial about the representations and agreements the town has made in regards to the landfill.

LarryK4 said...

If you have something in writing signed by the town saying the old landfill would remain open space forever, I would be happy to publish it.

Ed said...

You know nothing of contruction, and the physics involved.

Actually, I know more than you might realize. Including how T-6 is 6 degrees off center and leaning toward the river.

But since when is the burden of proof on concerned citizens who ask questions and not those who propose a project? Cicero once said that if neither the law nor the facts are in your favor, to instead simply abuse the plaintiff.

What are you trying to hide?

unless you want to be looked at as the scholar who cried wolf (which you are quickly becoming) do your homework young man!

Been there, done that -- read the Ward Commission Report -- and there were licensed engineers involved in most of that mess...

Again, what are you trying to hide?

Anonymous said...

town meeting voted to allow the town manager to negotiate a contract for longer than 3 years ...up to 30 years...so this law suit is not stopping him in doing that???

Anonymous said...

Ed;
You proclaim yourself to be knowledgable in so many things. But all your boasting is beginning to remind me of that old saying "Jack of all Trades, Master of None".

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:11 am: I think you are right on. Everytime I read something posted by Ed I instinctively get this picture in my mind of a blow fish. He is so puffed up, thinks he and only he knows everything about everything and the rest of us are poor schmucks who can only hope and pray to be him one day. It really is tiresome reading his rants and proclamations! But I just can't resist the temptation to see what tom foolery he is going to come up with next so I keep reading each and every one. I just gotta find better daily entertainment.