I thought residential solar and the Farm Viability Solar Ordinance were to be left off the Sculco proposed ordinance. Apparently, this is not so, based on Deborah O’Leary’s letter to the editor. This is very concerning both for my historic home and the many subsistence farmers in town, who may not sell products from their property but support their families with the meat, eggs and produce grown on their land. They should have every right to supplement their energy usage with appropriately-sized solar arrays.
The Sculcos come from Manhattan, they don’t live here. Some of my maternal ancestors were founders of New York City and Brooklyn. The VanSalee farms were in Manhattan and Coney Island and were quickly swallowed up by dense urban sprawl with no rescue preservation. The Bennett farm in Brooklyn lasted from 1637 to 1930, when the last piece was sold in the depth of the Depression.
My mother’s maiden name was Bennett and her family’s farm stretched along the coast from 16th Street to 65th Street from the shore up Bay Ridge to Green-Wood Cemetery. They also rented fields up to 75th Street, where the east footings of the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge now reside. No rescue preservation opportunity was ever provided to my grandfather.
According to my research of the Sculcos, their ancestors arrived here from Italy via Ellis Island sometime between 1892 and 1924. They probably never saw the rolling pastures of my family’s farms, and may never have appreciated their loss to human-centric, massive urbanization. But I do, and so I fear for Hopkinton’s farmers and some of the last farmland in the county. Those farm solar arrays keep the land open, which is easily reclaimable for growing crops or locating modern solar-powered greenhouses. They are also taxable. And, they produce five times the clean energy and atmospheric cleansing of any of our scraggly, diseased forests.
So I beg you, councilors, stop this insane strangling of our farming, long-tax-paying citizens in favor of some mean-spirited, Johnny-come-lately, yuppy, NIMBYs who seem hell-bent to turn our rural town into snobby suburbs. We don’t need housing in place of these farms.