I would like to update you on the solar farm landscaping meeting held at Mercer County Community College on Tuesday, June 19. The meeting was attended by a few invited residents whose homes will be directly affected by the proposed solar farm, West Windsor Township representatives Pat Ward and Dan Domolinsky, Steven Goodbody from Sunlight General, and representatives from MCCC and MCIA.
My home at 340 South Post Road is one of the closest to the proposed project. The solar panels are to be situated on a hill so that the water flowing from the drainage will flow toward the back of my property where my septic system lies. A wetland buffer zone lies in between.
Due to the sloping of the ground where the panels will be placed, drainage is a major concern. So distance from my property line to the project is critical.
MCCC President Patricia Donohue and Sunlight General’s project engineer, Mr. Goodbody, have always stated that the solar project would be 300 feet from my property line.
At the landscaping meeting, I again asked Mr. Goodbody the distance of the solar fence to my property line. The answer was again 300 feet. A neighbor in attendance challenged Mr. Goodbody, saying that the site plan map was not showing a distance of 300 feet. After calculating the distance based on the map’s scale, Mr. Goodbody apologized, saying that the actual distance from my fence to my property line was ONLY 250 feet, not the 300 feet as was originally and repeatedly stated.
So after our mayor spoke out on our behalf, and requested that the solar project be moved farther away from the homes, the project was actually moved 50 feet closer!
In view of our drainage concerns, this movement closer was devastating! Our drainage concerns were now even greater than before. So I pressed Mr. Goodbody as to whom we would call if drainage or other problems occurred. I was looking for some very real answers from the direct source.
During the dialogue Pat Ward interjected that the question had already been answered at the West Windsor Town Hall meeting.
I was disappointed that I was unable to receive a definitive answer from the solar project manager. I was frustrated that our representative interfered with getting an answer to a critical question. We questioned who was representing the residents.
Continuing with the drainage concerns, I again pressed Mr. Goodbody to move the solar project back to where the land levels off to a more even elevation (about 500 feet from my property line) so that runoff water would not drain toward the back of our home and toward our septic field. I asked him to move the project far enough away so that our home, land, and quality of life would be protected. I was told that MCCC would have placed the project even closer to my property line but they were prevented from legally doing so by the DEP because of the bordering wetland. So much for being concerned for your community and for your neighbors!
Lastly it was discovered that the MCCC solar project received a “permit by rule” for drainage. This allows for approval without having to meet stringent drainage guidelines. They do not even need to meet the storm water regulations. We are extremely disappointed and continue to fear for our home, our property, and our cherished way of life.
South Post Road, West Windsor