Friday, January 6, 2012

The Paduch bog solar array has been approved

The Watchdogs of Carver believe that we should do all that we can to help protect local wetlands and cranberry bogs. We support fiscally responsible renewable energy projects, but only those in properly zoned locations, and sites recommended for renewable energy projects (by the state). The town boards should be using better discretion, they should represent the rights of all of the residents of Carver, not just the insiders and bog owners.

This particular project was approved on Dec 27th, 2011 and involves a large solar installation which will be built on top of a cranberry bog. The land is owned by Mike Paduch. There is an elected official in the town of Carver named Michael Paduch. As a member of the Board of Assessors, he has an obvious insider connection to Town Hall, and inside access to the various town boards.

The property is located in a village district zoning area, a designation that previously has not allowed for any industrial use. Carver has a long history of cranberry farming, which traditionally has had a low carbon footprint, per sq. foot. These bogs and wetlands should be protected and preserved, not exploited for profit! They should not be used to push a fast tracked green agenda that will take away the natural beauty of this site.

This project was granted a variance from the Carver Wetlands Protection Bylaw, which was required because of it's close proximity to wetlands. In November, 2011 the Massachusetts DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) launched the “Clean Energy Results Program”. What Does the Clean Energy Results Program Offer? Among many things it can:

" Assess sites best suited for clean energy projects, like closed landfills, brownfields and existing drinking water and wastewater treatment plants"

Clearly a cranberry bog next to some wetlands is not a site suited for a large solar array. This project does not pass the common sense test, as was the case with the Purchase St. project. Carvers renewable energy consultant (and well know green advocate and wanna be Wind Turbine Developer), has failed us once again. He really doesn't appear to represent the residents interest at all.

This land is currently taxed at an agricultural (61A) rate, which is a very low tax rate compared to industrial zoned property. In reality, it's going to be converted to an industrial site. This solar power plant will be paying a small fraction in taxes as to what a properly zoned and properly taxed industrial power production facility should pay.

This certainly appears to us as a case of majorities on the town boards (but not all board members) assisting an insider to violate the existing zoning bylaws, and approving an industrial power production facility at a fraction of the industrial tax rate.

This is something that the average resident would probably not be allowed to get away with. We currently aren't able to access any of the important details of this project, short of what we read in the Carver Reporter 01/05/2012 article.

We did check the Carver town website, but once again we found that "there are no current headlines" in the "News and Recent Developments" section (as of Jan 6th, 2012). And the Carver Planning Board stopped posting their minutes at the town website in March 2009. Where is the transparency and accountability to the residents? Let us see all of the plans and agreements. We do pay the electricity bill for the town, after all.

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