As a degreed political scientist and career environmentalist, I must take issue with the warped reasoning of Councilor Capalbo in her recent letter to the editor. She justifies the developer’s bribery gifts to the town, which have nothing whatsoever to do with the development in question, in exchange for the council reversing existing zoning laws and codified sections of our Comprehensive Plan, by saying they serve the town and are done in the open. Call it crony capitalism or a Faustian bargain, such dishonest practices eventually end up eliminating the common man from fair and equitable access to their government. Even in the realm of situational ethics, this sort of payola is the height of corruption.
I am extremely pleased that at least three Hopkinton Councilors saw the harm in this particular solar proposal. It is at the top of the watershed to Locustville Pond and Hope Valley village. Stripping 174,000 trees and all their root structures from the porous glacial soils poses an extreme hazard of flood and mudslides to the valley, its water courses and our sole-source aquifer. Hopkinton is also a major flyway for migratory raptors and song birds, so fracturing that contiguous forest adjoining Arcadia would have a disastrous effect on many species nesting there. While I am pro-solar, I have encouraged the town leaders to develop overlay maps of wildlife corridors, migratory routes and associated water bodies to protect them from clear-cutting for solar development.
Major solar projects in town belong on old gravel banks, industrial brown fields, on the covered land fill or along the edge of Interstate 95, in those boulder fields where starving trees are sitting on bedrock and are all beginning to die of starvation. In addition, any councilor that suggests payola from a developer, over or under the table, in exchange for their vote should be recalled immediately!