Recap of St. Mark’s School meeting on solar project

by Beth Melo on August 14, 2015

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Above: According to the Community Advocate, neighbors to St. Mark’s applaud the school’s initiative to install solar panels, just not on the proposed Sears Road site. (Imageposted to Flickr by Alan Levine)

Recently, I shared news about a proposed solar project on Sears Road. St. Mark’s School had issued a letter to abutters about their plan. The neighbors were invited to a meeting to learn more.

The idea was to get feedback from the neighborhood before moving forward with submitting plans to the Town. Based on a post on the Town Planner’s blog, it seems that St. Mark’s had yet to file any permits as of last week.

Planner Jennifer Burney also noted that she was still waiting on advice from counsel as to whether the proposed project can fly in the residential zone. (Mass State law may exempt the school from zoning enforcement if it is considered for educational use.)

This week, the Community Advocate shared a recap of  St. Mark’s meeting with neighbors. Judging by the article, those in attendance were less than satisfied with the proposal:

“Good idea, good project, bad location,” said Robert Meyer, director of Finance and Business Operations at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, when asked to summarize neighbors’ feedback on the school’s proposed plan for solar panel installation. . .

[The school’s environmental sustainability coordinator and science teacher] Lohwater spoke about the proposed project’s connection to the science curriculum at St. Mark’s, the learning opportunity presented by the entire planning process, and the fact that this type of project is in line with peer schools. . .

However, after listening to all of presenters, most, if not all, of the abutters and residents at the meeting objected to the location as the current plan calls for the panels to be installed on land owned by St. Mark’s that is closest to Sears Road and furthest from the school. . .

“I see a very good effort on your part today,” said another abutter. “The school is handling it the right way, it’s a great idea for the school, but there is probably a better location for the town.”

“It’s going to look like an industrial building from Sears Road,” echoed another.

“We do want to support you,” said resident David McCay, “but this is a commercial-grade project on one of the most prestigious roads in Massachusetts.”

Click here to read the full story.


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