Westport in Brief!
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Quick Article Index . . .
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Photos | EverythingWestport.com
Letter to the editor,
Clean Energy Collective (CEC) is the developer of a community solar project discussed in an article and editorial published in the November 30 edition. CEC was founded in 2009 as the first community solar company in the country, and we are still focused solely on community solar.
Our project development operations are run out of our Worcester office. Thus, we strongly value and work for community involvement in our projects and seek to be a responsible member of every community where we operate. That often involves significant effort on our side to adjust the plans, construction, and operation of our projects, and the projects we have built and are developing in Westport are no different.
We believe the November 30 article and editorial call for clarification of the specifics on the Horseneck Road project in question. In particular, it is worth noting the following:
· The total land area of the parcel in question is 39 acres; only 17 acres will be used for the solar project, with the remaining 22 acres left as-is and wooded.
· CEC is committing to multiple levels of screening of the visual impacts of the project. All solar panels will be a minimum of 100 feet from property lines. Existing 30 foot tree lines will be left in place along property lines. We will install a new 8 foot high wooden fence and evergreen planting to screen from all residential properties.
· In addition to engineers hired by CEC, engineers hired by the town have reviewed and approved the design of the stormwater management system and agreed that no flooding will occur on abutting properties.
· Westport’s bylaws allow for solar projects to be built in this zoning district; further, the property could certainly be developed by the owner for other residential purposes if not used for solar.
· This project will generate decades of property taxes paid with little stress generated upon local services.
· Unlike many other forms of land use and especially energy production, solar farms make good neighbors: they do not smell, make noise, or pollute the local environment. We are confident that many residents of Westport appreciate the benefits of local clean energy generation.
· By providing clean energy to the electric grid, the project will generate enormous environmental benefits over its lifetime: over 111,000 tons of CO2 emissions avoided. This is the equivalent of growing more than 2.8 million trees from seed, or preserving over 900 acres of woodlands.
As the town and planning board consider the project, we ask that these efforts to make the project fit within the community be kept in mind. We recognize that differences of opinions occur amongst neighbors, and will incorporate the opinions of the folks neighboring this project however we can, while still preserving the ability for the property owner and CEC to build the solar project.
We hope that the town’s decisions will be based upon a clear-eyed and fair review of the facts at hand, including the significant environmental and economic benefits that the project would create for Westport.
Chief of staff, Clean Energy Collective
WLCT Camara Conservation Area opening draws crowd.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The conservation land now boasts a half mile of hiking trails and there is a contiguous network of open space extending from Camara Conservation Area into the city of Fall River, Massachusetts and town of Tiverton, Rhode Island. At the opening ceremony, Westport’s Community Preservation Committee Chairwoman, Betty Slade, emphasized that protection of the property is critically linked to protecting clean water entering the Watuppa Ponds.
Irene and Bill Camara, for whom the property is named after, described the opening as “a dream come true” to see their families land protected for public use and wildlife habitat. “We never thought we’d see it happen. It’s such a privilege to see this land protected for future generations.”
WLCT’s President, Trip Millikin, said that the Trust was, “fortunate to have been able to protect such a large property in the north end of Town and that our work to improve public access on the property will continue into the foreseeable future.”
The informational kiosk and trails on the property were part of neighbor John Messier’s eagle-scout project. Together, Messier and Troop 100 worked to rid the property of tires and miscellaneous debris which had been dumped on the property decades prior. WLCT’s Stewardship Coordinator Brendan Buckless, described working with Messier and Troop 100 as, “a joy to see young people working with their hands and learning how to manage land.” Messier’s uncle, owner of Messier Construction RRM, Inc. located in Tiverton, donated the materials and hardware for the trailhead kiosk to his nephew for the project. Messier and his father, a carpenter by trade, assembled the kiosk together over the summer.
WLCT Executive Director Ross Moran, said that, “the project underscores Westport’s continued commitment to protecting natural resources,” and that, “this project would not have been possible without the support of the Town and the local community.”
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