Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gateway Project pauses

A shovel ready former Frat Row

The Amherst Redevelopment Authority met this evening for the first time since the whirlwind three days of public input at the Gateway Visioning Charrette last month with advice cascading in from all quarters to clarify a vision for a large swath of land connecting UMass to downtown Amherst.

The final report from our consultant Giani Longo is scheduled for presentation on 6/29 to a joint meeting of the Amherst Planning Board and the ARA at an open public meeting--an official unveiling, minus the drumroll.
Giani Longo

The ARA hopes to receive a draft copy hot off the Internet a week or so before the public presentation and will make that available to the general public as well.

The scope of the project was somewhat constrained when predominant public opinion envisioned less dense development on the 2 acre parcel UMass owns, still referred to as "Frat Row" even though the five frat houses are long gone.

One of the sub-consultants also thought adjacent property in the corridor was not slummy enough to be considered "blighted" (although Phillips Street stood out as "decadent") which is required for the ARA to attain 'Urban Renewal' status that brings with it federal money and easier use of imminent domain powers.

Unfortunately our colleagues from UMass, Deputy Chancellor Todd Diacon and Director of External Relations Nancy Buffone missed this meeting as they are attending a four day conference in Colorado hosted by the International Town & Gown Association, where one of the major topics of discussion will be how to control rowdy student behavior in otherwise quiet neighborhoods.
Deputy Chancellor Todd Diacon center

When the topic of "new business" came up, the entire committee opposed even considering other projects besides Gateway and agreed that even if reduced in scope this project can still be a signature development of premier proportions.

Party House of the Weekend

47 South East Street

So if you're going to play exceedingly loud music at 2:00 AM make sure it's not "techno".

Under the headline, "Loud Techno Music and Party," Amherst Police restored peace and quiet to the neighborhood early Saturday morning, issuing one $300 ticket.

According to police narrative:

Loud music from DJ could be heard upon arrival. Approximately 15 guests playing beer pong on rear screened porch. All seemed to not hear officers attempting to get their attention. Resident identified and issued Town Bylaw citation for noise.

Property card for 47 South East Street

Summer in Amherst


No swimming

Monday, May 30, 2011


Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hadley Remembers

Unlike Amherst, Hadley has a marching band
Hard to miss Quint firetruck
DA Dave Sullivan underhand pitching candy to the kids
Barry Roberts and his magnificent horses
Cute kid with Dreama the mini pony
Nice old car
Nice new car
A motto Hadley lives by

Negotiating a minefield

It's safe to say the working relationship between UMass/Amherst and the town of Amherst, colloquially known as town/gown, has never been better.

Perhaps best reflected in the workings of the Campus and Community Coalition--a large committee of concerned public officials who live and work in the shadow of UMass, or the partnership forged recently to bring about the dream of a new Gateway Corridor to revitalize the physical link between UMass and downtown Amherst.

And these important initiatives--especially the Gateway Project--have flourished under the reign of Robert Holub, an academic (German literature no less) who seems to understand entrepreneurship, as evidenced by the significant increase in out-of-state enrollments that brings in higher profit margins per head to the flagship trying to negotiate turbulent economic waters.

Naturally I first welcomed him to town by pointing out his children attend the Amherst public schools while he lives in a tax exempt home on campus. One of my readers responded that it was a good thing: unlike some highly paid administrators in the Amherst School system, Chancellor Holub demonstrates confidence in our all-important institution by sending us his most prized treasure.

Last Sunday--seemingly out of nowhere--The Boston Globe detonated a major bombshell all but declaring Chancellor Holub a lame duck. Why? Spending $60,000 in consulting fees for an ill fated attempt to establish a medical school in Springfield, less than stellar ratings from an anonymous survey of classroom professors and an alleged cavalier attitude about affirmative action when it comes to attracting black students.

Overall, however, UMass/Amherst has a higher percentage of minority students under Holub's tenure--but unfortunately for him they are of the wrong target demographic; and when the Governor is black, I guess it's not hard to figure out what quota needs to command attention.

Last year, Amherst's interim (now permanent) Superintendent Maria Geryk--without telling the Regional School Committee--signed a $96,000 consulting contract with UMass School of Education for services some would consider mutually beneficial and therefor should have been free...how to better teach high school students.

So I'm trying to figure out what's the big deal with Mr. Holub--in command of a overall budget seven times higher than the Amherst Regional High School--spending a lousy $60,000 to perform due diligence on the possibility of establishing a medical school in Springfield?

Congressman Ritchie Neal seemed very supportive--and since he was instrumental in the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School acquiring a $1.5 million federal grant, safe bet he could have done the same for UMass.

UMass President Jack Wilson fought hard to found a law school at UMass/Dartmouth and probably spent a fair amount in consulting fees leading up to it. And if I had to choose what the state could use more of--lawyers or doctors--it would be an easy call.

And the fact that employees under Holub as measured by Mass Society of Professors don't particularly like him strikes me as a good thing. If employees love their boss, chances are the boss is not pushing them very hard to perform.

Interestingly, only 220 union members bothered to submit the survey on Holub's evaluation but a week later over 700 weighed in on the "Exceptional Merit Proposal". Kind of like Amherst's last local election that garnered under a 10% turnout vs. an Override election attracting 30%. Pocketbook issues seem to get everyone's attention.

UMass/Amherst has suffered budget cut after budget cut, yet it's still ranked in the top 20 universites in the world. And last I looked the world is a pretty BIG place.

The endowment is at an all time high indicating strong approval from alumni, the incoming class is the largest in history with the highest average SATs and GPAs so their retention rate will also be stellar as well (and safe to bet none of them will win my "Party House of the Weekend" award).

This is not the time for a change in command. As President Lincoln once said, "best not to swap horses while crossing the river."

Friday, May 27, 2011

What so proudly we hailed

The town remembered--having forgotten Patriots Day last month--to put up the flags this morning for Memorial Day, one of the six annual days the 29 commemorative flags are allowed to fly. This year, unlike last year, they will also be allowed to fly on 9/11, the tenth anniversary of the worst attack on American soil since the founding of our great nation.

Construction workers never need to be reminded to show respect for our flag

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A voice for the animals

Amherst Town Meeting closed out the warrant on Wednesday night with over a two-thirds vote to allow raising chickens and rabbits in residential neighborhoods (#33) and then quickly followed up by overwhelmingly passing Article #34, an 'Animal Welfare' bylaw to protect those animals.

On Monday night Amherst Town Meeting voted down back-to-back zoning articles that would have helped to prevent the construction of non-owner occupied, rental property prone to student overcrowding, and a bylaw preventing grassy lawns from serving as a parking lot.

Amherst Town Meeting seems to care more for chickens and rabbits than they do hard working human residents who have invested their life savings to buy their piece of the American dream: a home. With the endless amounts of work required to maintain it, plus the significant annual membership fee to the town in taxes.

Chickens and rabbits in a residential neighborhood will not bring down property values or threaten public safety; a run down slum of a party house most certainly will.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More problems for Chinese Charter School

In a 27-page report dated May 20, a state investigator for the Department of Children and Families found "reasonable cause" to support evidence for the allegation of neglect of an 9-year-old boy attending the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in Hadley.

The incident took place on March 25 when a 9-year-old boy in the third grade claims he was being bullied in a bathroom and in order to escape, pushed another child.

The next day school officials implemented "an in-house suspension" by confining him to an extremely small room for the entire school day without benefit of recess or physical education class and without contacting the parents. The boy was also denied access to a school nurse when he reported feeling ill.

Traumatized by the incident; he currently receives in-home instruction (as mandated by state education law). The parents hope this official finding will send a stern enough message so that changes are enacted for the good of all children.

Previous bad news for PVCICS click link

Monday, May 23, 2011

0 for 2 on anti slum legislation

Amherst Town Meeting tonight gave the new housing code enforcement officer (approved earlier in the budget) one less bylaw to enforce by turning down a zoning change requiring one half of a duplex to be owner occupied or if both units are rented, an on site manager. Article #28 failed to reach a two thirds majority: 81-49.

The follow up zoning article #29 "Residential Parking Requirement" to forbid the unsightly practice of parking cars on lawns by requiring all parking spaces be paved also failed to garner a two thirds majority: 78-42.

These zoning articles were hatched in response to continuous complaints from older established town neighborhoods where single family homes converted to student housing by private "entrepreneurs" can make life miserable when UMass is in session.

Earlier in the meeting the body voted unanimously to pass article #27, "Adoption of Stretch Energy Code," which increases by 20% the energy efficiency requirements set forth in the State Building Code for new construction making Amherst a 'Green Community' with better access to state grants to fund programs such as efficiency initiatives or renewable energy projects.

The meeting started with a standing moment of silence for Bill Field, former Moderator of 20 years, who passed away yesterday. A visibly shaken current Moderator Harrison Gregg cited Field as his inspiration.

Party House of the weekend

219 Amity Street

Yes, now that UMass graduation is done the party house pickings will be pretty slim. And the students who show enough initiative to attend summer classes are probably not of the party demographic that wreaks havoc 7 or 8 months out of the year.

But we do have a (rooming) house of bothersome note that was issued a warning by APD, owned by James Cherewatti of Eagle Crest Management where police are all too often called to babysit. This morning at 5:36 AM for instance, where five males were frolicking in a home made hot tube. Beer for breakfast anyone?

Now I think I know why town officials choose the house next door two years ago to enforce the town bylaw preventing more than four unrelated persons living together. It was not the residents at the 265 Amity Street location (all five young ladies were Mother Teresa types) it was more the owner of neighboring 219 Amity, James Cherewatti, the town was trying to send a stern message.

UPDATE (1:30 PM): Turns out I mixed up Amity with 219 E. Pleasant Street--another party house--in the background article from two years ago. Hard to keep them all straight.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

While the weary editors were sleeping

Daily Hampshire Gazette and Springfield Republican editors awoke Sunday morning with collective egg on the face. A small nuclear bomb detonated next door and somehow they managed to sleep through it.

Let's hear it for the distant BIG city bricks-and-mortar institution who still knows how to break a fully fleshed out story, even though they had to rely on unnamed sources "familiar with the evaluation."

But when you are the iconic Boston Globe you can get away with quoting unnamed sources.

Of course now the fun game is to watch closely and see who will first catch up to this Front Page story (and whether they assign a reporter to get a different quote or two from their own sources) on their webpage, since the ink presses will not run again until Monday morning.

UPDATE: 9:10 AM My ultra reliable source at the Gazette just sent me a link showing they just updated their Gazettenet main page with a "breaking story" citing the Boston Globe. OK they win, but still come in second place overall. And in journalism second place might as well be last.

And it may very well have been a tie since my Facebook buddy Scott Coen did put up a blogpost on Masslive--the Springfield Republican website-- with the story at 9:15 AM. Okay, so now we just need to hear from Ch. 22 (Scott Coen also absolves his main employer WGGB Ch 40)

Now I'm told by another Facebook buddy--who works for the Republican--that indeed the Gazette won as he published Scott Coen's blog post around 9:30 AM, about 15 minutes after Mr Coen hit his publish button and a few minutes after the Gazette went cyber.

And he also pointed out that there is no embarrassment being scooped by the likes of the Boston Globe. The young lad has been working less than a year and he's already complacent. Yikes!

Well I guess not that complacent. He responds:

"1.) I work for MassLive.com, a sister company to The Republican.
2.) I didn't say there wasn't any "embarrassment," just that it wasn't an upset i.e. I would expect the Globe to get this story because it's not, per se, a local one. The Holub decision will likely be made in Boston, not Amherst.

Acknowledging the good work of competitors is hardly complacency. You can quote me on that."

And so I did.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

APD Open House

My daughter Jada wanted to see where the police keep the "bad robbers"--especially the ones involved with a rash of Breaking & Entering that has plagued the community for almost a year. Even at age four she is savvy enough to remind me at night to lock the doors. Today's open house afforded us the perfect opportunity to tour the station. Unfortunately, the bad people were not handcuffed in a holding cell.

Toilets are practically indestructible

Hobart Hoedown Wagon

No horse patrol but we have (2) Harley's

The grass was greener

Let's hope the rain holds off today

A taste of Woodstock

Muddy Brook Farm giving pony rides

Saturday 6:00 PM

Friday, May 20, 2011

Let the Rapture begin

7:30 PM: Looking southeast

An even more expensive view

Kimball House

Wednesday night Amherst Town Meeting voted to place an Agricultural Preservation Restriction on land already owned by the town that was purchased for municipal use (an ill fated attempt to build an elementary school there failed--one of only a few times Amherst voters turned down the sacred schools) as the final moving part in a complicated deal hatched five years ago to preserve the view of privately owned Kimball House.

This was the fourth time Town Meeting deliberated the fate of this parcel as former School Committee member Vladimir Morales failed three times previously to get Amherst Town Meeting to designate the entire 66 acre parcel as "permanent conservation land."

The land was not locked into this protective designation because insiders wanted to keep options open to use it in the future as a possible "exchange" for municipal development on other land in town that borders conservation property.

Five years ago when Town Meeting missed the two-thirds vote required (96-60) Francesca Maltese, then Chair of the Conservation Commission, said prophetically "Even if no one can build on Wentworth Farm, to leverage this and take some of other piece of conservation land out of conservation is almost an ethical issue to deal with. We don't want to use Wentworth Farm to break the covenant on another piece.''

And that's exactly what just happened--except the covenant was broken for a private individual. As part of the deal to remove land from the state APR program so Roger Cherewatti could build his spacious abode behind the Kimball House rather than on it, the town had to pay the state $268,000 (half down the other half over five years) plus find 10 acres of land somewhere in town to replicate the APR land lost on North East Street. And time was just about up for finding that land, otherwise the town would pay the state another $100,000.

Mr. Cherewatti's other house (577 No East St): $2 million valuation

So if the town needs to build, say, a fire station in South Amherst that treads a tad too close to APR land (and Amherst has a LOT of APR land) Wentworth Farm is no longer available as a trade.

Ghostly view west: Smoke stack from UMass $9 million Paradis boiler plant

A town meeting member reminded the body that part of the deal five years ago was the property would be farmed, and he demanded to know if that part of the bargain was being kept. Sure enough. Last year the Cherewatti's received approval from the Department of Agriculture to construct a one acre irrigation pond (for crops) on the remaining APR land.

Mr. Cherewatti's view to the east

And I suppose it's easy to assume that Mr. Cherewatti got the best end of the deal. Either way, he was going to build his beautiful home; but now he has two of them. And this year he will pay the town $40,000 in taxes for the pleasure of his views.

But for anyone traveling along North East Street he provides a beautiful view--for free.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Weekend family fun

No pool for you!

War Memorial Pool, at ease

File this one under "Hell hath no fury..."

Town Meeting's voice ignored

Town Meeting voted decisively to appropriate funds to open War Memorial Pool this summer. This of course surprised the Town Manager and 4/5 of the Select Board, who hadn't realized what a priority this community resource is for our town. Selectwoman O'Keefe promised that she "heard" us and Mr. Musante agreed. But alas, no can do. The paint hasn't been ordered. The bathhouse can't be fixed until July. They're sure they can't find lifeguards at this late date. Is this really so impossible? Really?

I think the message is clear. For our unelected official, Mr. Musante, the pool is not a priority. He's Linda Chalfant's boss and has made it clear to her that the pool won't open this summer. He wants to put the money towards the huge undertaking of total rehab of the pool and community fields, which was also never his priority. The LSSE Commission of course echoed Mr. Musante. After all, LSSE Commission is appointed by the Town Manager.

Where is the voice of the people of Amherst? It was supposed to be Town Meeting, but no one in Town Hall is listening or cares....even when there was a clear vote to open the pool. TM is just supposed to come in for hours, read all the material, participate eagerly and then rubber stamp the priorities of our unelected officials. When we do vote to do things differently, we are ignored.

There were no children represented at any of Mr. Musante's meetings. TM bravely voted for the kids and all the other people who so appreciate the pool and the community it brings. I'm disappointed in the process. It doesn't work. For those of you lucky enough, look forward to your vacations in Maine, Cape Cod and Nantucket. Try not to think about the kids you're leaving behind.

Julia Rueschemeyer, Precinct 9

Deja Vu all over again

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cairo Queen (busy bee) returns!

Mother Mary Streeter (owner of TM's chatty listserve) Carol Gray--aka Max Headroom

Apparently the fix was in at Monday's Town Meeting Coordinating Committee election, those stewards of the aging institution charged with streamlining the process; kind of like cowboys trying to herd cats.

Naturally the first thing I do with a town meeting member name (even before Googling it) is run it through my "Hall of Shame" upload from four years ago. You know, the more despicable night in Amherst Town Meeting when two-thirds of the body voted against flying commemorative American flags in town center to remember the most devastating attack on US soil in our history.

Amazingly (I say that with sarcastic intent, hence italics) all three show up: Carol Gray, Pat Holland, and Harry Brooks.

So yes, this is the same Pat Holland who led the Jones Library subcommittee along with Carol Gray charged with an "evaluation" of 30 year award winning Director Bonnie Isman, a process that bordered on harassment and spoiled her well earned retirement.

Ms. Holland paid the price as she was recently rejected in her reelection bid, even though she was both an incumbent and the sitting President of the Jones Library Board of Trustees.

And someday when Carol Gray has the courage to actually place her name on a ballot she too will pay the price. This time she ducked retribution by using the ancient Egyptian stealth method of running a whisper campaign otherwise known as "write in."

Out of a total town meeting attendance of 196 only 49 bothered to vote, with Mr. Microphone Harry Brooks getting 37, Ms. Holland 36 and the Queen of Cairo 30. About as pathetic a voter turnout as a typical Amherst local election. The price of apathy.

Yeah, let's hope the American flag in the corner gets to stay

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Town to Crocker Care: We don't care!

What happens when two B-I-G bureaucracies combine forces to pull the rug out from under you?

Well if you are Crocker Care, a self sustaining after school program vital to parents--especially single parents--whose children attend Amherst's Crocker Farm Elementary School, you post an SOS to remind the community of 25 years of dedicated service dealing with our most precious asset: children.

You do of course have to be polite as the public school provides the roof over your head. But it must be hard--really, really hard--when town officials tell you one thing and then do another, fail to return emails or phone calls and then gives you less than two weeks notice for termination with extreme prejudice.

Apparently the Leisure Services and Supplemental Education empire does not like to compete, so the easy way to make their new after school child care program a success is to get the landlord to lock out the competition. You would think the Amherst Schools, since all they deal with is children, could set a better example by being a tad less RUTHLESS.

And what happens when the LSSE funding grant runs dry and they have to be self supporting like Crocker Care has been for its entire existence (not that they gouge the customers)? LSSE took over public swimming at the indoor Middle School Pool, renamed it the Amherst Community Aquatics Center and then just a couple years later shut it down because they could not make it self supporting--not even close.

When LSSE went into the pavilion rental market a few years ago with a bold prediction of $45,000 in revenues actual revenues came to under $10,000. So they are not exactly used to hitting projections when it relies on actually dealing with individual customers rather than one big fat check courtesy of a federal, state, or town grant.

One of the things I noted at last night's blockbuster attendance Town Meeting was how children were being used by adults as pawns in a political process (holding signs). In this case of competing after school programs, the children are the prize.

School officials--especially at Crocker Farm--should practice what they preach: Cooperation, Accountability, Respect, Empathy.

Amherst's Teflon coated bureaucrats

Former Amherst Town Manager Larry Shaffer, who suddenly "retired" and left town with a $62,000 going away present the same day his secretary disappeared with $23,000 in hush money did, finally, land another job in "public service"--city manager of Jackson, Michigan; although he took a bit of a pay cut, down from $127,000 to only $115,000.

You almost have to wonder if there's a course taught for public administration majors on how to obscure mistakes and Cover Your Ass. It's not so much that he cheated on his wife while "serving" the town, it's more that he allegedly did it with a subordinate employee at town hall (before taking up with a UMass professor more in keeping with his stature.)

Or at the very least town manager wannabes should take a primer on Public Relations. Mr. Shaffer made a bad decision right off the bat by following the Select Board's marching orders to trample the First Amendment rights of the July 4th Parade Committee by forcing them to allow protesters to march in the privately organized, non-political family event.

Since the Select Board can fire a town manager with a simply majority vote, I guess you can't blame him for covering his ass on that issue--especially since the Board at the time leaned to the left of Chairman Mao.

But to tax Boy Scouts Christmas trees after 60 years of tax-free selling was decidedly different--and perhaps more telling story--as he initiated the entire fiasco on his own without even telling the Select Board before coming up with the idiotic scheme.

And obviously he did not share with the current Board his ethically challenged personal inter office decision to allegedly have an affair (hopefully not during business hours).

Perhaps he has learned a lesson...or maybe Jackson, Michigan will.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Solar sanity outshines gloom and doom

Town Manager John Musante addresses Town Meeting

UPDATE: So I feel like I had ring side seats to Custer's Last Stand last night as the "fight" put up by concerned neighbors was far less effective than the blond haired General in search of glory. And the final results exactly the same. Utter, devastating, defeat.

When NIMBY general Rich Spurgin's first amendment, requiring a minimum financial return threshold be guaranteed, failed so miserably the handwriting was etched on the wall in neon spray paint.
Professor Spugin leads the ill-fated charge

Spurgin's second amendment--and that was a mistake in not leading with your best case--concerning supposed "safety" issues fared even worse, although that's hard to imagine going down any lower in support.

So very far-and-away overwhelming that not a single member dared to voice "I doubt it" to force a standing vote (rules of town meeting require a standing vote if even a single member doubts the voice vote.)

Now of course the neighbors will resort to Plan B and hire an attorney who will file a case in landcourt something about this being for all intents and purposes a "taking by eminent domain" as their expensive property will no longer be as useful to them as the 'Oh Happy Day' they originally purchased it.

And so it goes in the People's Republic, where the sun seldom sets on discussions of self interest.

ORIGINAL POST (last night):

After a contentious two hour debate with opponents raising the spectre of an environmental disaster and more mundane concerns over the financial uncertainty of locking into a 30 year deal, and proponents trumpeting the $1 million annual net gain to the treasury via energy savings and equipment taxes while reducing the towns carbon footprint, Amherst Town Meeting this evening voted overwhelmingly to allow Town Manager John Musante the authority to enter into a long-term contract with Blue Wave Capital to construct a 4.75 megawatt solar farm on the old landfill.
A packed Town Meeting

Neighbors around the targeted site quickly organized resistance to the ambitious long term project and jam packed a public meeting in early April to bicker and snicker at town officials, started a website laden with doomsday predictions, purchased a half-page in last week's Amherst Bulletin, direct mailed material to all town meeting members and some even joined that legislative body via the most recent election.

Dave Keenan speaking against the deal while using a prop

A visibly angry Vince O'Connor speaking against the article after being interrupted by a "point of order" when he mentioned how his protest resume included Seabrook Nuclear Plant in the late 1970s and a draft resistance arrest in the mid 1960s resulting in federal prison time.

The old trot out the kids and dog routine

Now that the first big hill has been successfully scaled, the next step is for the Town Manager to come up with a contract that will be approved by the Select Board (the executive branch) and for the state Department of Environmental Protection to give final approval for using the highly regulated landfill as a solar farm. Both safe bets.

The next major mountain to climb is getting the Zoning Board of Appeals to issue a Special Permit, which requires a unanimous vote. In 2002 the ZBA voted down (2-1) the town's proposal to increase the height of the newer (now closed) landfill by ten feet which would have generated millions of dollars in revenues to the town.
ARTICLE 24. Authorize Term of Lease for Old Landfill (Select Board)

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Town Manager to lease all or any portion of the Old Landfill across Belchertown Road from the existing Transfer Station from time to time by one or more leases for such term of years up to 30 years and for such consideration as the Town Manager shall determine, for the purpose of installing and operating thereon a solar array for electric power generation and distribution, and to authorize the Town Manager to grant such easements in, on, under and across over said land for utility and access purposes, as reasonably necessary to install and operate such a solar array, and further to authorize the Town Manager to enter into a power purchase agreement with any lessee of such property to purchase all or a portion of the electricity production of the solar array and to enter into an agreement with the local utility to participate in the Net Metering program pursuant to the Acts of 2008, c. 169, §78, the so-called Green Communities Act, as may be amended.