Landowner hopes to speak to planning board about solar

To the Editor:

Apparently Mr. [Lawrence] Zimmerman knows something I don’t [“This ain’t Normal Rockwell country,” Letters to the Editor, The Altamont Enterprise, Sept. 17, 2020].

First, I am a landowner, not a developer. Second, I have no proposal to make and never have had. I asked Mrs. [Councilwoman Bonnie] Conklin and the Town Clerk [Anita Clayton] who I should talk to about solar projects and was told Mr. [Supervisor Sean] Lyons.

At the time, the planning board was not in operation. I made an appointment with Mr. Lyons, which he postponed. I made another, which was changed to a board member when I got there. He suggested coming to the next board meeting. I found there was no public input at that meeting so I didn’t go.

I went to the next  meeting to speak and found I had been scheduled. I came, not to complain, but to put forth the advantages to the town of solar projects, which points out that the only disadvantage was visibility and that my property was almost invisible to the public except briefly from the foot of Cole Hill Road.

Now that the planning board is meeting again, I would like to address the board. I have no intention of presenting a proposal or asking for a variance nor have I ever had such intentions. It would be up to a developer who might wish to lease my land to make a proposal. 

I am in favor of solar farms.

Almost every town I know of is looking to encourage new industry, particularly one that provides income to the municipality and the school district, one that requires no investment in government infrastructure, adds no children to the school district, produces no sound, no garbage output of any kind, uses no water or any other input and produces 100-percent renewable energy. 

If only it were entirely invisible as well. Unfortunately, it is not but it can be sited in areas that are difficult to see except by airplane. I am not sure that it is uglier than a truck terminal, a mall, an apartment complex or a warehouse but that is up to each individual. Each of the others carries a plethora of its own disadvantages.

I would think every town would be trying to encourage solar farms to the best of their ability, not look for ways to discourage it.  

Ralph Miller


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