Some Simsbury residents say a 26-megawatt solar farm proposed for Simsbury farmland will create irreversible negative impacts to the town, including diminishing the town’s character, a reduction in property values and adverse environmental impacts on animal migration patterns and water quality.
Others insist that it will improve property values, reduce the tax burden on residents and is the lowest impact use for the land, which is currently being farmed but is zoned for residential and light industrial use.
More than 50 people turned out for a public hearing at Eno Memorial Hall on Tuesday to learn more about the proposal put forth by Rhode Island-based company Deepwater Wind that is currently being evaluated by the Connecticut Siting Council – the state authority that regulates such projects.
Deepwater Wind wants to build the Tobacco Valley Solar Farm on 156 acres in north Simsbury, whose parcels total 289 acres. It is expected to produce enough energy to power 5,000 homes. Deepwater would be selling the energy to utility companies, not to residents.
If approved, Deepwater Wind would install 110,000, 10-foot solar panels on the property. Deepwater Wind officials on Tuesday estimated that about 30 acres of trees would be cleared for the project, while 133 acres would be preserved as open space or forested area.
Deepwater Wind officials noted Tuesday that two of the five historic tobacco barns located on the property — two structures along Hoskins Road — would remain. However, officials stated that the structures are in severe disrepair and that there are no current plans to use them as part of the project.
Deepwater Wind was
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