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Petition to alter solar development proposals for North Brookfield

This petition had 164 supporters

We, the undersigned residents of the town of North Brookfield, wish to register our objection and opposition to any and all proposed solar projects which would require the destruction of woodland and or other natural habitat and/or diminishes the properties of the abutter's and neighbors properties. This includes the preliminary proposals to clear cut of forty plus acres of woodland on 14 Bell Road, 74 Oakham Road, 48 Brickyard Road and 10 New School Drive and install solar panels. 

We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now to find alternate locations that do not generate slight finical benefit to the majority of the town residents at the considerable loss of property values of neighboring residents and/or which detracts from the natural beauty and environment which makes North Brookfield an appealing place to live. 

More Photos of locations here

 Article from the Telegram

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Clear Cutting Town Forests for Solar Panels

The North Brookfield Select Board is currently in negotiations with Melink Solar, Inc. 0f Milford, Ohio to install solar panels on four parcels of town owned land. Having serious doubts about the use of taxpayer owned land as a money making tool and harboring further concerns about the appropriateness of the proposal itself, a group of property abutters and nearby neighbors have joined forces to oppose the negotiations. Generally these agreements between a municipality and a power company involve monies negotiated and paid to the town by the company to allow the company to erect the solar panels on the designated town properties. The group insists that monies currently being discussed, and in fact any amount of money, would be insufficient to warrant the total destruction of four unique and healthy ecosystems.

In an effort to appear to go Green and at the same time to add to the town coffers some needed cash, the North Brookfield Select Board is proceeding with these negotiations. At first glance this endeavor appears to be a noble and beneficent undertaking.

Now, there’s the rub. The four parcels of land are Water Department property at 14 Bell Road, property at 74 Oakham Road, a parcel at 48 Brickyard Road, and a parcel at 10 New School Drive near the public school buildings. All four properties share common characteristics which have caused this loosely connected group of abutters and concerned neighbors to informally unite in opposition to the entire project. All four parcels are heavily wooded. At least two, and perhaps all four, of the parcels could involve wetland issues. At least two of the parcels, and with further study perhaps the others, were voted protection for perpetuity from development at a 1962 town meeting. Erecting the solar panels on each of the four sights requires clear cutting of the forest and extensive ground preparation.

Until now, this politically diverse group has remained informal and meets primarily at the open meetings of North Brookfield Planning Board which has been dealing with the proposal as it pertains to a proper use of town properties. Of late, the as yet unnamed group of protesters has become more formally united and has initiated some more focused attempts to halt an action that rather than viewed as noble and beneficent, it sees as harmful and ill conceived.

In the process of clearcutting these forested parcels, animal habitat is destroyed, human recreation is restricted, and the natural beauty of these tracts is erased. Total acreage directly affected by the actual placement of solar panel is approximately forty five, but the total acreage indefinitely affected by their visible intrusion is about one hundred and twenty four acres. Forested land is essential to the maintenance of a clean and healthful environment as the vegetation produces oxygen and uses carbon dioxide.  As the future twenty year lease moves toward expiration, two things happen. The monies may decrease as the panels’ efficiency wanes and plans for the sites’ eventual decommissioning, involving removal of the panels and supporting structures, must be addressed. These eventualities result in four formerly thriving woodlots becoming four unsightly dirt and scrub growth patches because of a minor relief of municipal budgetary constraints. To eliminate this possible disaster, the group is beginning a more forceful program of opposition beginning with this letter and the initiation of a petition drive objecting to all four projects.

The group believes that this entire effort by the Select Board is an irony of ironies. An ill- conceived plan to seemingly go Green by destroying that which is already green!

Dennis M Kelley
Co-chair Citizens for Sensible Solar


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