To the editor of THE EAGLE:
This letter is in regard to the town of Lenox’s failure to negotiate a contract with Broadway Electrical (BE) for installation of a solar array on the site of Lenox’ former landfill. I have heard the justifications for this from the Conservation Commission and its supporters, as well as having personally sat in on some of the most recent meetings in regard to this project.
A recent letter characterized Broadway Electrical as having "refused" and "resisted" requests for a completed application, and for "not listening" to the Commission. I encourage readers to review the extensive minutes recorded at the Dec. 5 meeting between the two parties. In it, you will discover variations of color in what is otherwise being described in terms of black and white.
Perhaps blame falls on the absence of a town manager. When Lenox revives this project in 2014, it should appoint someone to shepherd the project through to its successful completion -- someone who represents the interests of the town. Because of space limitations, I can only provide one reason why: BE might or might not have dropped the ball when it failed to invite the Conservation Commission to a site visit to determine wetland delineation before the winter dieback of the vegetation. BE responded by explaining that the data it provided the commission were alone sufficient to make that determination.
I didn’t care for BE’s response. The site visit should have taken place. But more to the point, if the town had a champion whose sole interest was seeing this project through to completion, he/she would have been pro-active in making sure the site visit had occurred, and in a timely manner. It would not have been acceptable for him/her to sit back and watch that opportunity pass, and then pass judgment on Broadway Electrical. That was clearly not in the town’s interest.
Projects involve timelines, deadlines, specific task-oriented goals set down in chronological order. This site visit should not have been allowed to lapse, but it was allowed to by both parties. (Another issue was the commission’s expectations of one Notice of Intent from BE accounting for the entire capped landfill that BE was now only partially responsible for. Maybe not 50 shades of gray, but certainly a few.)
Broadway Electrical successfully negotiated three projects in Lee, and Lenox successfully negotiated one of two. Did BE suddenly turn rogue on this one project? No. Some one person needs to take the lead in Lenox.
Adversarial posturing and laying blame at the feet of Broadway Electrical amounts to nothing more than a lost opportunity. That’s not what the townspeople approved. They approved solar power generation at the site of the old landfill. The town was entrusted with the responsibility of making that happen. If and when it does occur, it will come at an increased cost to the town as we will have lost the opportunity to qualify for SREC-1, the incentive value now having been reduced.