To the Marion Planning Board:
The solar array proposal must be denied.
The solar array proposed on Route 6, just a stone’s throw from the Point Road lights, must be rejected by the Planning Board. The developer of the project has proposed to clear cut 18 acres for his project.
The fact that pertains to all of us is that we have not authorized the Planning Board to approve this project. In fact, by voting for the solar bylaw, we have specifically demanded that this scale of project be rejected.
Town boards can only do what they are authorized to do under the law. The particular thing about the Planning Board is that we, the voters, pass the laws at Town Meeting. The Planning Board must adhere to these laws. While town boards have a history of acting in a tyrannical manner (witness the Board of Selectmen’s unilateral decision prior to last year’s town meeting regarding Town House), it is up to us, the public, to jerk the leashes of the boards every so often when they forget their role is to execute our wishes. In this case, there is no doubt as to the wishes of the town. The Board must reject this solar application.
When a solar bylaw was first brought to Town Meeting by the Energy Management Committee, it was not endorsed by the Planning Board. The first proposal was subsequently rejected at Town Meeting. Following a year of back and forth negotiations between the Planning Board and the Energy Management Committee, a second proposal was approved by the voters. One of the key provisions of the compromise legislation was a prohibition against the large-scale removal of trees. This project proposes to remove 18 acres of trees.
This proposal does not meet the requirements of the law and must be rejected. If there is a Planning Board member who thinks that the Town Meeting did not think an 18-acre clear cutting was not large scale, please identify yourself. You should not be in office.
The developer is offering to make payments to the town if the project is approved. So what do you call a money payment to further an illegal project? It’s a bribe, so call it a bribe.
Here’s the big picture: Town Meeting agonizes over changes to Marion’s zoning laws. Any proposed law is required to have a public hearing and a report by the Planning Board. To be approved, a proposal must receive the approval of 2/3 of Town Meeting voters. Town Meeting has spoken on this issue and the Planning Board has no discretion in this matter. To even consider this proposal has been a slap in the face to Town Meeting. The Planning Board must reject the current solar proposal on Route 6.
John Rockwell, Marion
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