standing Letters

Eric Bibler sure likes to bash those supporting solar array development. He probably made his fortunes on fossil fuel stocks. He can afford to have two homes, one for work and one for his peaceful retreats. Perhaps we lifelong resident taxpayers of Hopkinton have to be even louder than he has been. So those “silent majority” residents, now is the time to be heard.

In defense of tax relief, these solar installations do not come off the tax rolls as do the vast thousands of acres eaten up by those entities whose goal is to do exactly such in the name of maintaining open space. The Hopkinton Land Trust grades potential sites based on their development potential. Thus a site that could have, say, 140 homes would be rather valuable to them to put away. And when I say put away, I mean it comes off of the tax rolls, never to contribute financially again, FOREVER. Solar farms contribute financially for 25 to 30 years AND prevent the houses (school kids) from coming to Hopkinton for 25 to 30 years.

It’s this scenario that Bibler needs to understand. He likes to conveniently use data to support his cause without understanding the larger picture. I liken solar panels to new farming. Instead of cows making milk, it’s solar panels making green energy. Its just farm land being rented for 30 years. After 30 years it can be a farm again if you wish, or a neighborhood if you wish.

Jeffrey Gilman

Hope Valley

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(4) comments

jeff gilman

Dear azima: Everyone loves to hide behind their little acronyms. I choose to be real.. If you are referring to the so called "big box" development at Exit 1 over a decade ago that is the only development I have been a part of. That development was sabotaged by local government and a huge pushback from the public which snowballed in a hurry. I can prove my comments. That project did NOT need zoning change nor a comp plan change. The comp plan even used the wording "big box" in its own black and white print. The zoning ordinance used the words "large scale retail" in its own black and white print. So pardon me for supporting something that was allowed to come forward, a place in Hopkinton where you could actually purchase the things we need to go elsewhere to purchase. This town has no balance of mixed uses and it will become more and more unaffordable if we don't stop the trend.

jeff gilman

Dear KJM: It is factual that land trust properties come off of the tax roles. It is factual that solar farm properties stay on the tax roles. It is factual that in addition to the land assessment they pay taxes on infrastructure and energy production. It is factual that large landowners struggle to own these properties unless they put them in a tax reduction program or sell off the development rights. It is factual that although everyone enjoys children they come at a substantial cost to the town for their education (more than private school I may add. Finally I personally called Vision Appraisal who performs assessment valuations all over the state and beyond for municipalities and they stated to me, and I quote, "We see no empirical evidence of devaluations of homes near solar farms." So I suggest you check for yourself as I hope the TC members do to disprove that it is "my own fact".


Mr. Gilman, without resort to demonstrating any "facts" self identifies with a "silent majority", which I suspect is similar to his belief in unicorns and that $29.43/yr per taxpayer is a "good deal" for destruction of TREED property NOT "farm land" as well as destruction or property values which would result in decreased tax income as well as Mr. Gilman and others refusal to address the infrastructure impact of construction equipment on our roads and deferral of police services during site construction, traffic issues and a myriad of other unanticipated issues that will arise. It is unfortunate that Mr. Gilman, like many of the other proponents who are for these projects feels compelled to engage in mendacity such as his ad hominem attack on Eric Bibler's investment strategy (again please cite facts). As has been the case with the Town Council proponents, the economic case for this development just DOES NOT exist. And, while Mr. Gilman is welcome to his own opinions, he is not welcome to his own facts.


As a landowner, Mr. Gilman simply hopes to gain from spot zoning - he's been floating unsustainable development for years and is frustrated that his neighbors are not impressed. Those of us who are fighting these get-rich-quick developers are extremely grateful for Mr. Bibler's tireless efforts in this battle. Thank you, Eric Bibler for fighting to preserve our rural communities!!

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