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Resident Voices Frustration About Possible Solar Project

A proposed solar project has some Mendon residents troubled and during a December 28 meeting, one of those citizens voiced his concerns to the Board of Selectmen. John Hodgens of King Philip Path approached the Selectmen during the Citizens Statement portion of the agenda to discuss a recent meeting with representatives from BlueWave Capital that he found to be "very troubling."

Just days before Christmas, Hodgens explained that he and approximately 30 of his neighbors were called to an informational meeting in Hopedale to discuss a possible power plant that would be erected on a farming property located between King Philip Path and Swandale Drive. "We did attend, but it's very, very troubling as residents of the town for 20 years that we are hailed into a neighboring town four days before Christmas to be informed of the location of a proposed power plant," said Hodgens to the Board.

According to BlueWave's Powerpoint presentation, the solar farm would contain 20 acres of solar arrays over three separate parcels on the privately owned farm on Providence St. The parcels seem to be shielded by woods, however one area where the arrays will stand appear to be adjacent to the Swandale portion of the farm and therefore visible to that neighborhood.

Hodgens said he and his neighbors fear the solar project will compromise the open space character of the area. "To now be faced with a power plant adjacent to the property that we have called home in a residential area does not make a great deal of sense to me," he said. "I understand this will be before the Planning Board but I did want this body to be aware that this had taken place. I don't think it speaks well of BlueWave to do that to the people of this community."

BlueWave Capital is a Boston based renewable energy company that focuses on solar photovoltaic development projects. Currently, the company is working on another solar farm project in town on Route 16.

The Selectmen stated they were aware that the BlueWave meeting had taken place weeks prior but affirmed the Planning Board has jurisdiction over the project and will determine whether or not the Providence St. property is zoned for the solar farm. "We'll certainly be looking at this as it goes forward and paying attention to it," said Selectmen Chair Mark Reil.

Hodges said he recognized the Selectmen's jurisdictional limitations concerning the solar farm, but added, "You do have a sphere of influence with respect to the town and BlueWave," he noted. He added that he and his neighbors will be attending the Planning Board meetings to voice their concerns with the solar plant.


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