The Silver Lake Regional School District is considering a parking lot solar project with Hopkinton, Mass. based Solect Energy in the parking lots of the high school and middle school.
Plympton’s representative to the Silver Lake Regional School District Jason Fraser discussed the proposed project with the Plympton Board of Selectmen at its meeting on Monday.
According to Fraser, the project involves building solar canopies in the high school and middle school parking lots. He said Solect estimates the canopies providing up to 2 megawatts of energy.
Fraser said, “This is purely a revenue generating idea.” The school is already in a contract for a solar power plan, so this energy would not be used for the school itself. Fraser also reminded the Board that a yes vote would not bind the school committee to denying the project later on.
The Board of Selectmen asked Fraser several questions about the project. Selectman John Traynor asked if any parking spots would be eliminated from the project. He said his only real concerns were aesthetic.
Fraser said the district shares concerns about how the project would affect the appearance of the lots and it was an important factor going forward. He said he’s taken the time to visit the sites of other lots where Solect has done this sort of work.
Though he hasn’t heard any negatives, Fraser said this would be by far Solect’s biggest project in the state. This, according to Fraser, is mostly due to the size of the parking lot. He also said no parking spots would be lost in this plan.
Selectmen Chair Christine Joy asked about the estimated revenue this project would provide, but as of right now, that figure is unknown. “I’d love to tell you a revenue number,” said Fraser, “but we aren’t there yet.”
There will be a public meeting to discuss the pros and cons of the solar project on Thursday, Nov. 9.
Potential Budget Increase for Silver Lake Regional School District
According to Fraser, the Silver Lake Regional School District’s budget could go up by roughly $200,000, due to an increase in the number of students in the district.
Fraser told selectmen, “This is all the more reason for additional revenue.” (referring to the solar project)
Plympton used to have a stabilization fund for school budget increases, but Fraser said this fund was eliminated by a vote at a previous town meeting.
Housing Production Plan Update
The Housing Production Survey deadline passed on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Joy said that in total, the survey yielded 82 respondents. At the meeting, she publicly thanked those who participated and was happy with the amount of people who did.
Joy said that the Housing Production Planning Committee will review the results at its next meeting on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. The committee is using last Wednesday’s meeting as well as future meetings to shape Plympton’s housing production plan.
• Selectmen said they are currently in contract negotiations with Plympton’s new Town Administrator, Elizabeth Dennehy.
• More interviews for Municipal Resources Inc.’s study of the Fire Department are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 4. Traynor said the interviews are “moving forward.”
The Board of Selectmen started exploring suggestions for the name change of the Winnetuxet Swimming Hole. Some suggestions were discussed however, nothing is concrete.
This is still very much in the preliminary stages. Some of the suggestions discussed included: Old Winnetuxet Swimming Hole, Winnetuxet Fishing Hole, Winnetuxet Recreation Pond, and Winnetuxet Cotton Mill Pond. The Board of Selectmen said they are going to let this sit for a little while.
The next meeting of the Plympton Board of Selectmen is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 6. Open session starts at 6 p.m.