I am writing to comment on Mr. Bill Bergan’s letter to the editor dated April 10, 2019, and to correct numerous misstatements of fact by Mr. Bergan.
Mr. Bergan states that I have a home in Connecticut and that I was not registered as a Rhode Island voter until last fall. This is true. Since 1987, I have divided my time between Connecticut (where I worked) and Hopkinton, R.I. Now that I am retired and spending more of my time in Hopkinton, it seemed appropriate to change my voter registration.
I am also an EMT and a crew chief in the Weston Volunteer Emergency Medical Service and, as treasurer of our 55-member volunteer squad, I am a member of the Executive Committee. I also chair two other committees on the Weston EMS, including the Standards Committee, which is responsible for writing and revising all of our bylaws and operating procedures. One day, I hope to serve as a volunteer for either the Hope Valley or the Ashaway Volunteer EMS squads. I hope that Mr. Bergan won’t hold all of this against me.
Mr. Bergan’s statement that I did not have a vehicle registered in Hopkinton until last fall is false. Every vehicle that I have ever owned since 1987 has been registered in Hopkinton. Since 1987, I have paid approximately $21,300 in personal property taxes to the Town of Hopkinton.
I purchased a house in Hopkinton in 1987 and then purchased two adjacent lots in 1994 from Washington Trust after a foreclosure on these properties, which included an antique barn that is a companion structure to the 1830s farmhouse that I own. Since 1987, I have paid approximately $214,000 in property taxes on these properties to the Town of Hopkinton.
I have been the president of my homeowners’ association of seven homes in Hopkinton that share, and maintain, a private dirt road, since 1997. I was also the treasurer and an Executive Committee member of a small beach club in Matunuck, R.I., for many years (which I can assure you is a thankless task).
I have been a supporter of the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association for 30 years. More recently, I applied to be the representative for the Town of Hopkinton for the newly formed Wild & Scenic Rivers Stewardship Council.
I realize that the $235,000 in taxes that I have paid to Hopkinton over the past 30-plus years is considerably less than the ransom that Councilwoman Capalbo attempted to extract from Southern Sky, through her infamous Brushy Brook “codicils,” but it’s not nothing.
Mr. Bergan incorrectly states that it is merely “my opinion” that Councilwoman Capalbo had improper communications with representatives of Southern Sky to negotiate the terms of her “codicils” outside of the public hearing process. This is false. I recently filed a series of public records request with the Town of Hopkinton and obtained copies of correspondence that prove my assertions to be true — which is why I made them.
It is not “my perception” that over 600 residents have signed three petitions — and added personal comments — stating their belief that the indiscriminate industrialization of Hopkinton, through the installation of commercial solar arrays in residential zones, would adversely affect the character of the town or their quality of life.
It is not “my perception” that these proposed developments are inconsistent with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. The Hopkinton Planning Board — which authored the Comp Plan and administers the planning process — has disapproved the last seven commercial solar proposals by an overwhelming margin.
It is not “my perception” that spot zoning is illegal, or that the town’s ordinances require a 2/3 supermajority vote to override an adverse opinion of the Planning Board.
And it is not “my perception” that the overwhelming majority of residents, many of whom have signed petitions and attended numerous public meetings to make their feelings known, do not believe that their property values will improve, or remain stable, if an industrial power plant is installed across the street from them.
Finally, it is not “my perception” that after the Hopkinton Planning Board voted unanimously to reject the Brushy Brook project, the Town Council then voted, by a 3-2 margin, to deny the request to rezone this 348-acre residential property, which abuts the Arcadia Management Area, for commercial use. Nor is it “my perception” that this vote effectively put an end to that matter.
I hope that this will serve to put Mr. Bergan’s mind at ease on all of these issues.