There is an add on to the New Milford Town Council agenda tonight. It's a proposed lease for solar panels at Sullivan Farm. Mayor David Gronbach says US Solar is interested in leasing about 10 acres of the 110 acre property. He notes that the proposal is for a lot barely visible from the road near the back of the farm. He says the acres are not currently used, but are mowed.
Gronbach says they will have less impact than the high tension power lines that already cross the property.
He says the lease was proposed to generate income so it can continue to be a farm and more of a community resource. New Milford would receive credits off its electric bill as well as the rental income of $1500 per acre.
Gronbach says while the Youth Agency has done an amazing job planting crops and operating the farm stand this year, but a long-term plan is needed. He envisions the farm becoming self-sustaining with a full-time manager that not only carry’s on farming, but also provides educational and community services.
Even if approved tonight, it will require Town Meeting approval.
There is a September 1st deadline for this company to participate in a state-run program.
Several residents are already voicing their concerns. On a Facebook post about the proposal from Gronbach, residents questioned if the solar panels would be appropriate considering that when New Milford acquired Sullivan Farm it was for active and passive recreational use. The resolution was only specified that the land would be obtained for town purposes.
One previous solar panel proposal in town failed. A resolution to put lighted ball fields on Sullivan Farm also previously was denied.