Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Vermonters for Responsible Solar announced its existence Thursday via a news release from spokeswoman Kathy Aicher. She said three neighbors — Charlie Flanders, Ted Hubbard and Dave Fucci — have formed the group in opposition to a 2.3-megawatt solar farm planned by groSolar for an empty lot off Cold River Road.
The group’s central goal, Aicher said, is to get the town to adopt regulations requiring a 200-foot setback for projects the size of the one planned by groSolar. The design submitted by the company calls for 60-foot setbacks.
The neighbors “have been working with Rutland Town, the Select Board and the town administrator on the proposed amendment that would set new siting standards for solar projects,” she said.
In addition to that, the group has placed signs opposing the project along the road in the area of the site.
Aicher said the group stands ready to buy the land in question — for which groSolar has entered into a purchase and sale agreement — should the project fall apart.
Steve Remen, groSolar’s executive vice president, said a 200-foot setback would reduce the available area for development and that the 60-foot setback should be adequate.
“It’s our intent to plant shrubbery and trees, crab apples and all of that, around the site,” he said.
Remen said he was not sure the additional setback would make a difference in terms of effectively screening the property and pointed out that it was designated as industrial in the town plan — one of the reasons the company chose the property.
“We feel solar is one of the least offensive uses for land that was designated industrial,” he said. “There will be no emissions or noise, there will be no increase in traffic, we require no services from the town, and we are a net contributor to the town.”