Planning Board Chair Stephen Seredynski explained one reason the developer, Boston-based BlueWave Solar, requested a change of date and to continue presenting its plans for the proposed solar project is that the company is waiting on permission from Eversource regarding a new pole placement that may decrease the project’s visual impact on neighboring properties.
“As this would be new information, the public hearing would continue,” Seredynski said.
Additionally, he said BlueWave Solar is “in conversations with the Northfield Historical Commission and Native American representatives.” BlueWave Solar Project Developer Jackie Firsty confirmed on Wednesday these reasons for the delay, and noted the focus of these conversations has been around how to conduct archeological research and monitor the involved land for historical or cultural resources.
During previous meetings in the public hearing process, Selectboard member and Historic Commission Chair Barbara “Bee” Jacque and Rich Holschuh, who serves on the Vermont Commission for Native American Affairs and as a public liaison for the Elnu Abenaki tribe, spoke about their concern over disturbing the land where the solar arrays would be built. Jacque recommended such research be conducted.
The project would consist of three solar arrays on land owned by the L’Etoile family and Four Star Farms off of Pine Meadow Road. As an agricultural dual-use project, the plan is to continue the agricultural use of the property while supporting the on-site operations.
The southern array, “Array A,” would be roughly 26 acres and be located across from the Four Star Farms main building. It would generate roughly 4 megawatts of power.
The second array, “Array B,” would be located farther north on Pine Meadow Road, in a field around the bend from Riverview Road, and would generate about 6 megawatts of power through 1,400 panels. Lastly, a third small array, “Array C,” would be located on the Connecticut River side of Pine Meadow Road, and generate a half-megawatt of power.
The Planning Board will now establish an agenda for the continuation of the public hearing, and is scheduled to meet again at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 15. The meeting can be accessed via Zoom at zoom.us/j/97532725214, with the Meeting ID: 975 3272 5214.
Zack DeLuca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-930-4579.
This article & photograph originally appeared in a Greenfield Recorder post on April 1th, 2021.