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People’s column

By MICHAEL BOBSEINE

This is an open letter to Supervisor Dan Pacos and members of the Pomfret Town Board.

Please accept this letter of support regarding the proposed Farel Road Solar Project. I’m writing in support of this project as a resident and an attorney and for the following reasons:

First, the Town of Pomfret carefully considered the issue of solar power developments in the Town in 2016 and adopted Local Law 2 – Solar Power. This Local Law was carefully crafted in line with existing law, recognized and anticipated future solar power development as an acceptable land use, and established the proper locations within the Town for those acceptable and anticipated land uses. It was a public process and permitted resident involvement. Further, the Local Law established a review process for proposed projects to ensure compliance with the law and permit public involvement to address unanticipated issues or concerns before final approval of the permitted land use.

The landowner and project developer have submitted to this process to develop the property as permitted by Local Law 2. I do not believe the Town should now deny the project and this permitted use of the property after anticipating these types of projects and thus inviting this land use.

Second, I have reviewed all the documents for this project. The landowner, by way of the developer, RIC Energy, has responded to the many comments and concerns of public officials and citizens, including and especially surrounding landowners. The developer has provided modifications, including significantly greater setbacks, reduced total land use coverage, and significantly more vegetative coverage than otherwise required. The developer has done this to make the landowner’s permitted land use more acceptable — even though the project as originally conceived already met the essential requirements of Local Law 2.

The Town and the public involved in this process should be commended. Arguably, the project is now a better project because of this process and the resulting modifications.

Third, this project is future oriented. This project and more like it need to be encouraged in our community and throughout our state and country. We have not learned to live with climate change and all the problems that we are only beginning to experience consequently.

It is essential that we encourage renewable energy development to replace our outsized reliance on fossil fuels. This project is not going to solve the issue of climate change, but these kinds of projects are a critical part of the overall effort to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

This type of project is very much a part of our children’s future – and the future of our community.

For the above reasons, I respectfully ask that this project be approved – and that send a clear signal as a community that we want and encourage other such land use developments.

Thank you for your kind consideration.

Michael Bobseine is a Fredonia resident.

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