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Bullard Solar Has Support

by Todd Truesdale

Letter in Support of the Bullard Farm Solar Project

Dear Mr. Donovan,

I am pleased to submit this letter of support for the Bullard Farm solar project to Holliston’s Planning Board.  Thank you for your consideration

As a long-time resident of Holliston, I urge the Board to approve this important project as expeditiously as possible.  I believe a solar facility sited on Bullard Farm’s cleared, open fields would be an appropriate use for an otherwise dormant piece of land.  The project will supply critically needed tax revenue to the town, and will be an important step that our town can take to address climate change.  We can do so right here in Holliston by helping to eliminate the demand for one more coal energy plant that currently fuels our carbon-based way of life in Holliston.   I feel passionately about this topic, as my business career has been focused for many years on sustainable-source paper products and as I served on the Town Forest Committee for years.

Stepping back, I would encourage the Planning Board to view the project favorably through the lens of the Town’s positive public relations image.  I believe this Project will encourage others in the Commonwealth to take a different look at Holliston and perhaps see it as a progressive and attractive place to live or locate a business.  

In that vein, I don’t believe the direct abutters on Bullard Street are the only voices that should be heard on this subject.  In fact, a recent poll done by the MetroWest Daily News says that 61% of 296 on-line voters are in favor of the solar project being located on Bullard Street.  Because I’m quite sure that all the organized abutters have voted against the project in this on-line poll, I believe it is safe to conclude that a higher percentage than 61% of non-abutter residents of Holliston support this Project being located at Bullard Street.  Clearly there is strong support for this project, so again I would encourage your board to please consider all voices when reviewing the project.

In the end, Bullard Farm should be able to use their land as they see fit.  A solar development would provide them much needed revenue to help keep their wonderful operation self-sustainable for the long term.  Other neighbors on Bullard Street should not be allowed to dictate how Bullard Farm uses its property in order to protect their view of a hayfield.  For all these reasons, I encourage the Planning Board to approve this important project so that Holliston can enjoy clean energy and tax revenue for years to come.

Thank you for your consideration.
Todd Truesdale
13 Westfield Drive
Holliston, MA  01746

Comments (8)

Todd, Holliston is not benefitting from the project at all so far. I believe, that tax revenue has not been determined but most importantly, the energy created by the solar facility is being purchased by the town of Bedford. It is my understanding that other offers, regarding ways to generate the same revenue, have been suggested to Bullard Farm, but they have turned a deaf ear. clearly there must be more to the offer between Bullard Farm and the Developer/investors than they are willing to share. I support green energy at the commercial level,but there is no reason for a facility of this magnitude to be built in such a pristine residential/rural area. There are plenty of other viable industrial sites around Massachusetts, that this facility and others like it, should look to as their permanent homes.

anonymous | 2012-02-16 21:21:05

I just want to say that I do not approve of this project after reading the various comments of those living near this proposed site. I do not live anywhere near this neighborhood, but respect those that do. I sometimes drive down Bullard St. and enjoy the country like and scenic setting. That is the reason I live in this town, because it is not all built up and industrial. You will ruin the character and appeal of this town if you start letting these types of projects in.

Not Living in Vicinity | 2012-02-16 12:03:08

Apologies for the multiple posting but this section got cut out for some reason... If the farm wants to "go green" and have what the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) would call small scale solar facility on their property less than 250kw we ALL stand behind it. A large scale facility is industrial and belongs in an industrial area. The DOER made this distinction because they understand that this size facility could affect the health, safety and welfare of residents. If the DOER realizes this, why wouldn't we want to be informed by that and take heed?

sandra | 2012-02-16 09:25:25

To begin, I am not against alternative energy sources. I realize there are people in the community who support the Bullard Farm Solar Power Plant, especially those that have a connection to the Farm. Others probably lack information on how detrimental a project of this size (7,500 solar panels) will be. Also, we all know online polls are not statistically valid; and in some instances, there can be multiple votes from the same person. That being said, I think we should deal with what we know and the potential uncertainty of what we don't. The Bullard Memorial Farm Association (BMFA) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places with 100 year old trees which canopy the whole scenic road in the summer. The property is also lined with historic stone walls that are also on the National Register. In 1989/90, the BMFA was successful in fighting off a proposal by Algonquin Gas Pipeline to build a pipeline through the property by calling itself an irreplaceable archeological resource due to the presence of some 300 prehistoric artifacts which were probably those of Native American remains. Now the BMFA has suddenly changed its stance. "The Mission of the Bullard Memorial Farm Association is to support the preservation, protection, and restoration of historic structures and resources reflecting early New England life at the Bullard Memorial Farm. To achieve this mission, we will support, encourage, inform, and educate the membership and the public of the architectural significance, history, and heritage of the Bullard Memorial Farm." Is this Solar Project in keeping with its mission statement? I think not. By placing such a facility in the proposed location abutting a residential neighborhood, clear cutting of the large wind break between the 2 planting fields and other trees along Bullard Street, and removing part of the stone wall will not only take the scenic road away, but cause problems with storm water run-off. There is also not enough evidence as t

Kris | 2012-02-16 08:20:10

While I certainly respect Mr. Truesdale's right to his opinion and his position, I think there are two common fallacies underlying his argument. The first is that so-called "NIMBYism" is an unworthy objection to this or any other proposed development. While it is undoubtedly true that people in whose "back yards" any given development is proposed (I am not one of those people in this case, by the way) tend to oppose that development, such opposition is neither irrational nor unworthy of serious consideration. Obviously these people have a much more substantial connection to the area - and to the potential project - than does anyone else. A proposal that might seem a net positive in the abstract - whether a solar farm, a turbine, or a casino - has heightened and often very different implications for the people who will be asked to coexist with the development on a daily basis. The people who purchased homes on Bullard Street did so for many reasons, one of which is the rural character of the street. That character would be radically altered by installation of an industrial facility and removal of the trees that form the street's unique and beautiful canopy. That is neither an irrational nor an unreasonable objection - particularly when one considers that zoning laws exist precisely to protect this kind of individual interest in maintaining the character of a given area. The second fallacy underlying Mr. Truesdale's argument is that "green" always and everywhere equals "good." In this case, the supposed benefits of a solar installation must be weighed against the costs - and those costs include destruction of the aforementioned canopy; radical alteration of the character of a scenic, rural neighborhood; and establishment of a precedent that would for all intents and purposes render zoning laws in Holliston meaningless going forward. And for that, what? Some good PR in the small segment of the population that judges a community solely on the basis of its willingness

Dan Haley | 2012-02-15 14:17:18

I applaud Mr. Truesdale for supporting sustainable energy as do the residents of Bullard Street. However, to put the proposed Bullard solar project in the correct perspective, lets consider a few more facts. 1. Tbe Bullard Memorial Farm Association (BMFA) is a public charity and it pays no taxes to anyone while the abutters pay a lot of taxes. 2. The BMFA wants to engage in a commercial, for profit venture by leasing its land. This is not the stated mission of the farm. 3. The BMFA will tell you it needs the money to fund it; yet it has over $2.5 million dollars in cash and investments. 4. The land would not be dormant if the BMFA had allowed people interested in using the land for farming to lease it. Speak to the Agricultural Commission. 5. This is a residential-agricultural zoned area. It was not intended for commerical or industrial uses as this project is. 6. Bullard Street is an official scenic road. If you cut down the trees and replace them with 10 foot tall solar panels, is it still scenic? 7. The solar developer is offering Holliston a small payment in lieu of taxes and then selling the credits from NStar for the power it generates to a third party not even in Holliston. Need I say more to explain why this specific solar project is a terrible idea.

Thomas Gilbert | 2012-02-15 13:36:57

We do not wish to dictate the operations of the farm, we simply believe that it should have to conform to what is and should be allowed in ANY residential area.

sandra | 2012-02-15 13:35:04

I would strongly urge residents who are curious or even think they may favor this project to come to some of the Planning and Assessors meetings to find out what it is really about. I would like to address a few inaccuracies in the letter. First, the town will not get "critically needed tax revenue" from this project. The developer has proposed to pay little more than $20k/yr in taxes. Second, I don't want to speak for every abutter, but I do want to address climate change, and I do think solar is one way to get there. However, this is not the proper site for a 2Mega watt industrial solar facility. If the farm wants to "go green" and have what the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) would call small scale solar facility on their property 250kw) because they understand that this could affect the health, safety and welfare of residents. If the DOER realizes this, why wouldn't we want to be informed by that and take heed? Put this project where it belongs, in an industrial zone, and we ALL get behind it. Put it in a residential neighborhood and people will see this town not as progressive and attractive, but as a place that doesn't respect zoning - putting all residents at risk of having to fight against industrial uses in their neighborhoods. As for the polls, as Mr. Truesdale pointed out the collection method and the answer choices make them entirely invalid. I could similarly point to a poll in the Holliston patch - all Holliston residents, unlike the MetroWest poll, which shows 76% against the project. Neither should be taken as a clear indication of what people know or feel about this project. It is clear to me that Mr. Truesdale has not participated in the debate about this project. It is not about protecting the view of the historic planting field. It is about protecting our zoning districts. You would not expect nor should you have to expect an industrial facility in the middle of the Queens. We shouldn't either. We do not wish to di

sandra | 2012-02-15 13:27:45