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Adams Conservation Commission Endorses Lime Street Solar Array

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Conservation Commission is supporting a proposed Lime Street solar project but continued the hearing to a later date so the company could provide more information about a culvert.
 
"I think this is fantastic and I have no problem," Commissioner Thomas Robinson said at the Jan. 17 public hearing. "Fine no problems."
 
Jon Spicer of Stantec  engineering firm spoke on behalf of OYA Solar MA LP, a Toronto-based solar developer that wants to install a ground-mounted solar array at 0 Lime St. on land owned by David Krutiak.
 
The 9.7-acre parcel is located on the so-called Lime Street connector that parallels the rail line and connects to Route 8. 
 
Spicer said under the federal Wetlands Protection Act, the project is considered a redevelopment because the 3.3 acres to be developed is already degraded.
 
"Most of which today is degraded exposed soil and gravel. Pretty poor condition overall," Spicer said. "In really simple terms, what the developer will do is come in here and scarify the existing degraded area. They will bring in topsoil, loam, and a native seed mix."
 
Spicer said anything beyond that section will not be touched because the land is bordered by the Hoosic River, a perennial stream, a floodplain, a vegetative wetland, and a Natural Heritage mapped-out area containing rare species.  
 
"We have agreed to hold and not disturb anything beyond this line," Spicer said. "We are not proposing any alteration to trees or tree canopies."
 
He said one small concrete pad will be poured for the solar generation equipment. The panels themselves will be placed on decking that will be fastened to the ground.
 
"They don't have concrete foundations they have more of a threaded screw on the end," Spicer said. "They can be mechanically screwed into the earth for easy installation and easy decommissioning at the end of the 25 years life span."
 
The panels will be less than 15 feet high and there will be a security fence around the facility. 
 
William Lattrell, an ecologist and wetlands scientist who often helps the commission, was also present at the meeting and said he really had no concerns about the project.
 
He did note that there was an illegally installed culvert from the 1990s that would need to be removed. 
 
"The sensible thing to do in my opinion is to remove that culvert and restore that area and bring back the natural flow of the brook," he said. "It resolves the issue of something being put in place without a permit." 
 
He said this was a last-minute finding and Stantec was unable to include plans to remove the culvert. Lattrell recommended that the commission continue the hearing until the plans are complete.
 
The commissioners unanimously made this decision and agreed to support the project. Once they see the removal plan, they said there is no reason to not approve it.
 
"We certainly can go on record and say we support this project if you bring us proper culvert removal plans," Commission member David Lipinski said. "We are not going to hold this project up."
 
Chairman James Fassell said there have been violations on the land in the past and the array would certainly be an improvement. 
 
"It will decrease our grief because we have had grief over that property for years and it is not beautiful land," Fassell said.

Tags: conservation commission,   solar array,   

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St. Stan's Students Get Crash Course in Accident Reconstruction

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — State Troopers Kyle Cahoon and Sean Curley, members of the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section (CARS) Unit, met with St. Stanislaus Kostka middle school students to provide an in-depth look into the process and science behind accident reconstruction.
 
On Friday, May 17, the troopers showed students how they determine the causes of vehicular crashes and identify who may be at fault. Curley said CARS is not called to every accident but only the worst of the worst that conclude in severe injury, death, or considerable property damage.
 
"If we have a real bad crash where somebody is likely not to make it, that's when we get a phone call," he said. "The officer on the road will realize that this is a very, very serious crash, and it might be outside of his scope of what he does. He'll call the State Police."
 
He added that there are four CARS units across the state, but theirs covers the largest distance in Western Mass — from Worcester to Berkshire County.
 
"So, there are response times for us that are a long time," he said. "I have driven for almost two hours with my lights and sirens on."
 
According to Cahoon, there are three common elements that contribute to a crash: the driver, the vehicle, and the environment. He emphasized that accidents are rarely caused solely by vehicles. Instead, human factors, such as driver distraction or adverse road conditions, are typically the primary causes of accidents.
 
"It's not typically just an accident," Cahoon said. "Like they might be speeding and not paying attention, they might be on their cell phone when they shouldn't be. Ninety-nine percent of crashes we investigate are not accidents."
 
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