Featured Letter: Why not solar capital?

To the editor:

The April 2 News-Review article, “Town Board looks to stymie solar district.” I was stunned by the comments made by Supervisor Sean Walter. It seems he wishes to eliminate solar farms as a permitted use in the Industrial C zone. Admittedly, I am not technically versed in zoning and uses in specific types of zoning but I do travel on Edwards Avenue often and I was so pleased to see land used for clean and renewable energy. I enthusiastically thought, good going Riverhead; for the first time you are making good use of parcels of land. 

These farms do not create traffic, they do not disturb the nighttime sky and do not destroy the land.

I was happy to read that more solar farms are being proposed but was amazed to read that Mr. Walter would like to have these clean, green projects pay full taxes in order to discourage these projects from coming to Riverhead. Meanwhile abatements are available for projects like the Marriott and Hampton Jitney, right across from the solar farm. That facility will certainly add to the traffic congestion and air pollution in the area; something a solar farm will not do.

Then I read an April 7 article in Newsday, “Push to curb solar bids,” in which Mr. Walter was quoted as saying the increased taxes “may kill a lot of these solar projects but so be it.” Mr. Walter does not want Edwards Avenue to be wall-to-wall solar. As he is quoted, “Edwards Avenue is going to be wall-to-wall solar. It’s not going to look that great, even with berms and trees … That’s what these solar farms look like. They’re not the most attractive.”

Has he taken a ride on Route 58 from Tanger to Route 105? Tell me how attractive that is! I’d much rather see solar farms, even in my neighborhood, than another strip mall or discount store. I would much rather have Riverhead known as the solar farm capital of Suffolk County than the shopping capital. This town never learns.

Marsha Kipperman, Riverhead