BRANDON — A group of residents is officially asking the state to throw out Conti Solar’s permit application for the Babcock Solar Project.
Conti Solar, of Edison, New Jersey, proposes to build a 2.2-megawatt solar facility at the intersection of Park Street Extension and 21 Country Club Road. It has filed for a certificate of public good with the Public Utility Commission.
The project has been met with a great deal of public backlash, as town officials and residents have expressed opposition to it. After the project was first proposed, the developers said they’d look for other sites, owing to the negative response, but weren’t able to find any.
On Monday, Robert and Kathryn Clark, Jonathan Blake and Country Club Townhomes Owners’ Association Inc. filed a motion to dismiss the company’s application through their attorney, Cindy Ellen Hill, of Hill Attorney PLLC in Middlebury.
Hill said Tuesday she couldn’t comment on the substance of the motion, but did say she has until Nov. 5 to file supplemental material. Attorneys for Babcock Solar have 30 days to respond to the motion. The PUC doesn’t have a deadline for ruling on it, she said.
According to the motion, the application for the certificate should be dismissed because Brandon Fire District #1, in which the project is sited, wasn’t given proper notice of the application.
Hill clarified that her clients are customers of the fire district.
Her motion claims that the law requires developers give affected municipalities a “45-day notice,” and that fire districts such as Brandon Fire District #1 count as municipalities. The motion cites past PUC rulings in which it has acknowledged a fire district as a municipality.
“There is no evidence in the record whatsoever that Petitioner provided 45-day or filing notice to the Brandon Fire District #1, which is both a municipality in which the project is located, and the owner of a possessory real property interest located within the project site,” reads Hill’s motion. “The Prudential Committee of the Brandon Fire District #1 comprises its ‘municipal legislative body’ as it is the municipal entity authorized to adopt and enforce bylaws. Failure to provide notice to the Brandon Fire District #1 violates both statute and PUC rule. This Petition should accordingly be dismissed.”
Eric Millard, vice president of development for Conti Solar, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday.
It’s been reported that residents’ concerns regarding the Babcock project center around aesthetics, the project’s potential impact on property values, how it will be screened from view, and that it might damage a water line running across the property.