Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Let the grading begin

 Moving "new dirt" at ye old landfill

The Amherst Department of Public Works commenced work on regrading the old landfill off Belchertown Road, a project required by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection as part of capping closure agreement signed in the late 1980s.

A landfill typically settles after organic material decomposes causing the clay cap to sag and allowing rainwater to collect in stagnant pools.  This phase of the regrading should only take a week and the 52 acre tract will start looking as level as a Cape Cod beach.

Of course a level playing field is also conducive to the installation of solar panels, a controversial project strongly opposed by neighbors in the adjacent Amherst Woods housing development who filed suit against the town last year using NIMBY lawyer Michael Pill.

Amherst was one of about 20 communities who took state money for capping with the provision the closed landfill never be used for anything except passive recreation.  A recent bill in the state legislature would nix that condition by making solar farms an acceptable--if not encouraged--use.

Last year Amherst Town Meeting voted overwhelmingly to allow Town Manager John Musante to negotiate a long term agreement with BlueWave Capital, a company founded by John DeVillars, former Secretary of Environmental Affairs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Today would have been a good day to generate electricity.
 Twins: mountain of dirt in shadow of Holyoke Range


Shining said...

Why are the solar panels so controversial? I'm sure the neighborhoods would rather have them than students in the po dunk area.

LarryK said...

They got used to it be a giant open space for them to jog, walk the dog, or set up recreational equipment.

Anonymous said...

I think it's beause realtors and town employees told them that this land was protected recreation land, the town accepted money from the state to keep it open, never legally protected it, then never met with the neighbors to tell them the town wanted to sign a deal to put a few hundred solar panels in. Or maybe they are just touchy.

Anonymous said...

To Anon March 16, 2012 10:14 AM

You are absolutely right on! Anyone who looked at property up there was told that the landfill was going to be open space...forever. Thanks for standing by your word Amherst. Bastards.

Anonymous said...

Here's something funny:

Until last year, any project proposed in Amherst that
1) eradicates a threatened species' habitat,
2) threatens to worsen a documented groundwater contamination situation, and
[worst of all!]
3) enriches a profit-seeking developer

... would have been dead on arrival at Town Meeting, Select Board or ZBA.

But add the word "solar" to the mix, and now it all makes sense.

Progressivist hypocrisy, alive and well in the heart of sanctimony: Amherst, MA.