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Site visit ordered for New Haven solar array

NEW HAVEN — The Vermont Public Service Board hearing officer on the proposed Next Generation Solar Farm on Field Days Road has ordered a site visit, New Haven selectboard chair Kathy Barrett told her board at a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
The site visit is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 19, at 2 p.m.
In May 2015, Next Generation applied for a Certificate of Public Good to build a 2.2MW solar array on 27 acres along Field Days Road. Some raised issues with the proposal. The site was identified by state biologists as bobolink habitat, and many consider the iconic Field Days Road to be an important viewscape.
In addition, the Green Mountain Power Solar Map rates circuits on the Field Days Road as “little to no capacity” for interconnections because of the load already on those circuits.
Meanwhile, the town continues to work on the agreement with developers of the proposed Vermont Green Line, a high-power line that would deliver renewable energy from upstate New York to a Veloc substation in New Haven, for transport to southern New England. Barrett said there is as yet no final document for the selectboard to consider.
Last May New Haven residents expressed approval for the VGL converter station through a townwide survey. Since then the town’s negotiating team — Selectman Steve Dupoise, former Selectwoman Carole Hall, and attorneys Cindy Hill and Richard Saudek — have been hammering out the details with representatives of the VGL partnership.
The selectboard continues its work on the revised town plan, said Barrett. The New Haven Town Plan, adopted March 1, 2011, expired this past March. The planning commission held a public hearing on the revised town plan in early June and handed on their revised draft to the selectboard in mid July.
The selectboard held a Saturday morning work session on Aug. 20. Board members have been assigned to look at other town plans and bring in aspects that they feel are effective at upcoming selectboard meetings. As in other towns across the state, the selectboard in New Haven is particularly interested in the revised plan’s language around solar siting. The renewable energy siting bill authored by state Sen. Chris Bray of New Haven and signed into law June 13, order the Public Service Board to give “substantial deference” to town plans that take into account state energy and climate goals.
After the selectboard makes any revisions, it must then hold a public hearing before putting the new plan to a public vote.

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