Letter: Renewable energy rewrite is disturbing

To the Editor:

Ridgefield’s charm is a reason that many of us live here. So, it came as a shock when the P&Z director fast-tracked the permit for gigantic solar arrays being installed, effectively in my back yard. He said the hurt to my property value was “irrelevant.” It did not matter that these were industrial-style.

Now, satellite dishes larger than 3.3 feet in residential neighborhoods need a special permit: their size, siting, and design should not damage property values and the neighborhood aesthetic. Yet, industrial-style solar arrays over 100 times as large are supposedly OK.

The Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously overturned the permit. They asked for a site-plan review and screening of the arrays. P&Z’s reaction to being held to account has been perplexing:

The P&Z director said he couldn’t even issue permits for cabanas or gazebos because solar structures are like gazebos! He proposed modifying regulations to allow him to rubber-stamp such structures, even those as high as 45 feet.

Rudy Marconi, to his credit, asked the P&Z to learn about renewable energy before changing any regulations.

However, the commission held a public hearing at which they disregarded the majority input. In several Orwellian exchanges, the P&Z Commission chair said the rewrite was not about solar despite “Renewable Energy Systems” being explicitly mentioned in their proposal. The chair also misrepresented few letters as being supportive of the rewrite when they were not.

A resident of Peaceable Street observed that this very commission had avoided defining “private club.” Yet, they were rushing this rewrite to allow themselves to do as they please.

As residents of this beautiful town, I feel we deserve more from the P&Z. We need a qualified and independent planning and zoning function; and we deserve commissioners who conduct themselves with integrity and listen to “We The People.”

Sanjay Tripathi

Canterbury Lane, March 31

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