This is in regards to Dorothy Gardiner's letter of Monday, Feb. 25, titled "Solar is much better for the bottom line in Hopkinton." As one of the three town council members in Hopkinton who voted against Brushy Brook in a 3-2 vote, I do not plan to vote against my original position on the Brushy Brook proposal. A contact has been made asking it to be reconsidered.
Mrs. Gardiner also referred to the Old Depot Road proposal off Woodville Road. I was not on the 2016-18 town council that defeated the Old Depot Road project. Of interest is the votes of town councilors Barbara Capalbo and Sylvia Thompson. While Councilor Capalbo voted against the Old Depot Road proposal, she not only supported the Brushy Brook proposal, but had conditions, better described as favors, for her approval. Councilor Thompson, supported the Old Depot Road project, but opposed the Brushy Brook proposal.
Mrs. Gardiner in her letter mentioned about the financial benefits on the solar project at the Brushy Brook site. Also she mentioned the cost of housing and education costs, if houses were built. Those concerns should not be immediately discarded, but should be reflected upon. It costs over $18,000 per child to educate a student in our regional school district. However, should we agree to every development proposal that would prevent houses from being built? I think not!
The Planning Board of Hopkinton made their feelings clear in a unanimous decision to the town council in regard to the Brushy Brook proposal. Their vote was not in favor of the proposal. The Planning Board decision had multiple reasons. They decided the proposal did not meet the standards set forth in the comprehensive plan. I do acknowledge others have disagreement with their view on the comprehensive plan on this matter.
The public sentiment against both projects, Old Depot Road and Brushy Brook, are quite obvious. Certainly some in favor, but certainly the majority against.
First, I would like to apologize to Mrs. Gardiner publicly for not getting back to her on the Brushy Brook matter. That I promised her by phone. Also I apologize to any person who contacted me by any means on this solar issue, and I did not get back to them. Mrs. Gardiner, unlike most, has taken her time in the past to serve the community. A former Chariho School Committee member, she currently serves on the Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee.
I am not totally against solar, but I do have concerns about "big solar." Hopkinton residents wishing to contact me can reach me at email@example.com and (401)360-4603 or (401) 212-9458.
Scott Bill Hirst
The writer is vice president of the Hopkinton Town Council.