Topic: COMMUNITY INTEREST
Planning Board must say NO
to Synnergy Solar!!
Don’t make flooding even worse!!
ATTEND PLANNING BOARD MEETING - JANUARY 24, 2019 – 7:00PM
Share this notice with friends and neighbors!!
Flooding in the Sweetbriar and Whitehouse communities has been devastating residents and properties for years. The Members of the Planning Board, Mayor Yeade and Council, everyone already know this.
The Planning Board must deny the Synnergy Solar project because it fails to meet the requirements for a waiver under the Stream Buffer Conservation Zone (SBCZ - Chap. 583)
The Synnergy Solar Project will:
ü Clear 12 acres of forest, including 820 large trees and numerous smaller ones, plus all the shrubs and ground cover that make up a healthy streamside forest.
ü Grade the high and low areas that capture rainwater and lets it soak into the ground.
ü 67% of this project is located in Hamilton Township’s SBCZ.
This project fails to meet the Intent and Purpose of the SBCZ because:
583-1(A) - Projects in the SBCZ are supposed to meet “accepted conservation practices.” An entire forest will be cut down to build this project.
583-1(B) – SBCZ are supposed to prevent pollutants from running off the land into the creek. The forest will be clear-cut, the ground re-graded and the stormwater drained to yet more detention basins. Nothing prevents pollution runoff better than the forest that is there today.
583-1(C-F) – Without the trees, we lose the benefits of shading that protects the water quality, the wildlife habitat both in the forest and in the stream, the natural erosion protection of the streambanks, the floodplains and other natural features.
583-1(G) – The forest and other natural features there today “minimize hazards to life, property and stream features.”
This project fails to meet the requirements for a waiver because:
583-4 – States: There shall be no clearing or cutting of trees and brush, except for removal of dead vegetation and pruning for reasons of public safety or for the replacement of invasive species with indigenous species. There shall be no regrading or construction within the SBCZ.
583-4(A) States: Acceptable land uses in the SBCZ include open space uses that are primarily passive in character, provided near-stream vegetation is preserved, including:
1) Wildlife sanctuaries, nature preserves, forest preserves, fishing areas, game farms, fish hatcheries and fishing reserves, operated for the protection and propagation of wildlife, but excluding structures,
2) Passive areas of public and private parklands, including unpaved hiking, bicycle and bridle trails, provided that said trails have been stabilized with pervious materials. The Synnergy project is not even close to these “acceptable” uses.
This project will result in a substantial impact to the SBCZ and surrounding communities:
583-8 - A waiver may be granted “where the consequent impact upon the SBCZ is determined to be minimal.” Clear cutting 12 acres of woodlands is NOT MINIMAL.
583.3A(2)- The Planning Board can only grant “minor” waivers. This project will clear 12 acres of forest. About 67% of the solar panels are locate in the SBCZ. That is NOT MINOR.
583-8- A waiver may only be granted where “it has been affirmatively demonstrated that the proposed activity will not be materially detrimental or injurious to other property or improvements in the area and will not endanger public safety.”
There are many legal and legitimate reasons given above for the Planning Board to deny this application. But that doesn’t always mean they will vote that way. Having a “standing-room-only” crowd urging them to DENY Synnergy will be very powerful.
A vote to deny this project is not a vote against jobs. It is a vote in favor of not making flooding worse in your neighborhood. It’s a vote to better protect the public safety and health of the residents of Hamilton Township and those that live downstream. And to protect the River and all the critters that depend on a healthy waterway to survive.
Other important points:
ü What will this project do to real estate values? Certainly the homes in the Sweetbriar & Whitehead areas will lose valuable wooded open space for a large-scale, treeless solar farm.
ü Did the Hamilton Township Environmental Commission review these plans? What was the Commission’s position on this project?
ü Is the US Army Corps of Engineers already studying the persistent and devastating flooding of the Assumpink Creek? How can we justify cutting down 12 acres of woodlands located in a floodplain along the creek and still wonder why our creeks and neighborhood flood?
ü Is the Natural Resources Conservation District planning how the rehabilitate the dam at Veterans Park? The Synnergy project may be a ways from the dam, but isn’t it a concern to the Township if a waiver is granted in the ecologically sensitive SBCZ?
hT This project will pose a significant public safety and health impact on the residents of Hamilton Township while the benefits go to a different community. That’s not right.
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