BY ARIADNE WILL

A proposed solar power project has stalled as the parcel on which DG Vermont Solar, LLC is hoping to build a 2.2 megawatt project has been put up for sale.

The land off Adams Road that the project hopes to develop was put up for sale by owner the day after Pittsford’s planning commission gave the project its approval.

The commission’s accompanying letter of support was rescinded following the owner’s decision to sell.

DG Vermont Solar said at the meeting that they had been unaware of the landowner’s plans to sell the land. Project Manager George Yan told the panel that the land owner had appeared supportive until only a couple weeks ago, when she posted the property for sale.

The sale of the 117.56-acre parcel goes against the lease agreement and contract that had already been agreed upon by the solar developer and the landowner.

But the logistics of the project and its contracts isn’t the only concern: the parcel in question is also where Pittsford’s Split Rock trail is located. 

Selectmen said they were nervous about the possibility of losing a public recreational spot upon the sale of the parcel.

“Our trail system is very important to this town,” Selectman David Mills said at the meeting, adding that he would feel better if the land was sold to someone who will keep the trails.

According to planning commission minutes from their Oct. 28 meeting, the best-case scenario in terms of the solar project would be for the next owner of the property to inherit the existing lease agreement.

There is also a possibility that DG Vermont Solar buys the property, though company lawyer Nancy Malmquist said that the property owner is at liberty to sell to whomever she wants.

Malmquist said that should the company purchase the property, the trails would remain intact.

DG Vermont Solar also reminded the board that purchasing the property would not mean any additional solar development. 

As planned, the 2.2-megawatt project will take up around 17 acres. Malmquist said at the meeting that this will not change, as a 2.2-megawatt project is the size limit under Vermont’s Standard Offer Program. Increasing the project size, she said, would negatively impact the project’s profit margins.

Other Business

  • Town Manager John Haverstock presented a preliminary draft of the proposed budget for FY 2022/23. The draft reflected the requests of town department heads and takes into account the conditions of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 1.5% wage increase for all town employees and budget surpluses in the town’s general and highway funds.
  • Lyle Jepson of Killington Valley Marketing and CEDRR requested funding from the town to go towards marketing and welcoming efforts in Pittsford and the surrounding area. No motion was made on the item.
  • A fee waiver was issued to the Highway Department for the construction of a pole barn. Selectmen voted unanimously to waive the fee, which would have been paid back to the town.
  • Selectmen unanimously voted to spend $1600 on advertising on various platforms for the hiring of a new town manager.
  • Sno-Mads requested and received snowmobile access to town roads by a unanimous vote.
  • Bean’s Mobil Homes requested and received a permit to build a driveway at a property on Windy Hill Road. The permit was issued by unanimous vote.