Proposed solar bylaw needs amending

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By Sunday, Apr 30 Letters

To the Editor:
No one in their right mind is anti-solar. We all want to slow climate change, diminish our carbon footprint and support clean, renewable energy. So please don’t brand me anti-solar when I tell you that the Great Barrington proposed solar bylaw needs some work.

Don’t get me wrong — it has many excellent parts: regulations, guidelines and recommendations which will benefit our citizens. We need to pass it but does it go far enough in protecting us?

At the town meeting Monday, I will be making a motion I hope you will support. As the proposed bylaw is written, anyone would be able to put a commercial array of up to 15 acres on farmland and put a commercial array of unlimited size in the large one and two acre residential zones which make up the bulk of our town.

For comparison, the array at Guido’s is two acres. The bylaw would allow an installation 7.5 times as large on farmland and infinity times that large on your neighbor’s back meadow.

Here are the broad strokes of the amendment: commercial arrays on farmlands as designated by the bylaw would be allowed but the maximum acreage would be reduced from 15 to 5 acres. Commercial arrays of any size would not be allowed in non-farmland residential zones R-2 and R-4.

Nobody signed up for a mortgage thinking they wouldn’t be able to prohibit a developer from building a large commercial business next door. Or across the street.

It’s all a question of scale and of fairness. This amendment would allow us to start small, take incremental steps and see how this solar bylaw works instead of going in whole hog and having major regrets later.

See you Monday night.

Holly Hamer
Great Barrington

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