I read with interest Rep. Mike Yantachka’s commentary (9/20) criticizing the Public Utility Commission’s decision to reject an application for construction of a large-scale commercial solar array in the iconic Mt. Philo viewshed. My reaction to the decision was quite different from Mike’s: Finally the PUC “build everywhere” policy seems to have been modified to consider land-use planning in reviewing large-scale commercial solar and wind applications.
Mike’s premise seems to be that large-scale commercial solar array and wind turbine developments are so important to society that, unsightly or not, locations selected by developers should not be questioned. As Mike points out, we are used to seeing arguably unsightly utility poles and convenience stores. However, there are procedures which review the siting and design of utility lines and convenience stores, such as the proceeding several years ago for the upgrade of the VELCO transmission line, and local zoning and planning which regulate commercial construction.
The bottom line is that there are plenty of sites for large-scale solar development which are not in the Mt. Philo viewshed. Yes, Vermont should be making a contribution to reducing global carbon emissions but respectful of our unique landscape and the tourist-industry jobs which depend on it.
Ed Amidon, Charlotte