Petition to the Town of Shutesbury Concerning Solar Projects
Non-Binding Policy Advisory to the Town of Shutesbury Regarding Solar Projects
We the undersigned Registered Voters in Shutesbury hereby petition the Select Board and Town Administrator of the town of Shutesbury to be guided in their actions and decision making regarding solar projects, by the following non-binding policy advisory:
We believe it is time for the town of Shutesbury to take part in reducing carbon emissions, protecting local ecology, and adapting to a future of extreme climate events. Our plan for solar must be financially responsible and foster local energy resilience.
In the interest of fiscal and legal responsibility, the permitting of any solar projects in Shutesbury should not be confused with or complicated by an effort to partner with a private, for-profit entity. An Operations and Management contract for a large-scale privately owned industrial solar project is a complex venture, exposing Shutesbury to unforeseen financial, legal, and environmental risks. Such an undertaking requires a measured approach, including time to study the issue, access expert guidance, and, at the very least a concrete proposal vetted by a permitting process.
We respectfully call on Town Hall to remain neutral in this process and allow the permitting boards to do their work. While the Planning Board, Conservation Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals have yet to review any site plans, it is inappropriate for town officials to continue an exploratory dialogue with AMP. Such a "dialogue" places pressure on these boards and interferes with their ability to do a thorough and impartial review.
For the reasons described above we hereby ask the Town Administrator and Select Board to:
1) No Agreements Before Permits: Cease any and all communication with W.D. Cowls Inc., Amp Solar Development and any of their subsidiaries, representatives or spokespersons, about special MOAs, MOU's, contracts, Operations & Management Agreements, or other unique allowances, unless and until the proposed solar project has been filed and fully assessed by the Planning Board, Conservation Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals.
2) Transparency: Refrain from conducting any pilot negotiations and private off-the-record informal discussions with the above mentioned companies or any of their subsidiaries, representatives or spokespersons regarding the AMP/Cowls solar project.
3) No Special Process for AMP: We ask the Town Administrator and Select Board to follow the same processes and procedures, regarding this Solar Project that have been established for any parties who want to build in the Town of Shutesbury.
4) Develop Municipal Solar: We call on the Town Administrator and Select Board to explore the development of a fiscally responsible community owned municipal solar project, set on rooftops and already developed land owned by the town of Shutesbury. Municipal solar will lower our electrical bills, decrease carbon emissions, and increase our town’s energy resilience and independence.