This letter is a response to Sharon Davis’ guest opinion entitled, “Trying to find a solution to solar fatigue” in Thursday issue of The Sun:
I can well understand your frustration with spending hours researching, listening to developers and citizens of the town regarding solar development.
Limiting the number of times a citizen mat speak, as well as the time, seems right. However, being sure that both sides can give their views is a necessity.
A plan to limit the time allotment for citizens to comment and/or ask questions raises even more questions.
1. How do you fairly divide the time available ? Do “pro” citizens wear green shirts and “anti” wear red shirts?
2. Do you do a one-to-one allotment of time? Meaning you may only speak once!
3. Do you limit the time for each person, say 5 minutes?
4. If a question has already been asked and answered, do you state “asked and answered,” and have the person move on?
5. If there are 50 “pro” and 100 “anti,” do you allow an equal number of time to each group, understanding that time will run out?
6. Do you have one “pro”, than one “anti” person speak so that each side may comment?
The allotment of time for the council to ask questions should also be considered. If a councilor is against “Big Solar,” and has stated that, why question the developer if your vote is already “NO”? If the councilor does not “like” solar, and fears solar will decrease real estate values, why question the developer if your vote is already “no”?
Since the thrust is to save time, then all of these questions should be debated and answered.
I believe that any change to the current method of allowing citizens to speak would, in my opinion, be detrimental to the long history of citizen involvement. However, a time limit for each citizen to speak would eliminate some of the lengthy reading of articles, amateur legal arguments and redundant questioning.