Solar Farm Proposal Panned By Environmental Commission

env comm meeting

The township Environmental Commission has panned a Davidson Avenue company’s plan to remove more than 5,000 trees to build a solar farm.

A township company’s plan to create a 9-acre solar farm has gained an unlikely opponent – the township Environmental Commission.

The commission is opposed to the plan because the company, Rotor Clip, wants to clear more than 17 acres of trees to install the farm, and members say that’s not a good trade-off.

“The trade-off does not benefit the environment,” commission member Arnold Vernick said.

Rotor Clip plans to create an 8-acre farm and a 1-acre farm, according to its submission.

The Davidson Avenue business wants to remove 5,500 trees, according to its plan. It wold be required to re-plant 836 trees, but has proposed re-planting 44, with the remainder made up through a payment to the township’s shade tree fund.

But the re-planting plan also did not pass muster with the commission.

“That’s redundant,” commission member Arnold Schmidt said. “We don’t need more trees there. There are plenty of other places where trees are needed.”

Schmidt suggested that the township Shade Tree Commission be given the chance to look at the plans as well.

Deputy Mayor Ted Chase (D-Ward 1) said he though the solar panel array could be built over the company’s parking lot.

“If it’s good enough for Great Expectations, it’s good enough for them,” Chase said. He was referring to The Center for Great Expectations, a woman’s shelter in the township that has solar panels installed above its parking lot.

“Then there is the question of if you’re just proposing nine acres, why do you need to clear 17 acres?” Chase said.

Commission member David Triggs ticked off a few other problems he saw with the plan: “storm water run-off, soil erosion, loss of habitat for wildlife.”

A letter from the state Department of Environmental Protection noted that the area is a foraging habitat for the Great Blue Heron, classified as a “rare species.”

Chase also wondered how much output the solar arrays were expected to generate, and if Rotor Clip needed that much power for its operations.


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