July 29, 2008

Greenfield authority considers energy business

GREENFIELD – The Greenfield Redevelopment Authority is considering going into the energy business.

But to do so, the agency needs to build structures that exceed the 50-foot height limitation in the town’s industrial zones.

“There is no reason the GRA cannot be a power company,” William F. Martin, Chairman of the authority, said Monday following a meeting at Town Hall.

At the meeting, the authority voted unanimously to submit a petition to the Town Council for a change in zoning to clear the way for height limitations exclusions.

Windmills and other apparatus that could be part of an alternative energy generation system would need to be higher than 50 feet, members said.

The petition seeks a special permit process that would grant exceptions to the height limit for energy production purposes.

The council is expected to send the request on to its Economic Development Committee and to the city Planning Board for recommendations before a final council vote on the petition.

Martin said the authority has a 12-acre parcel in its I-91 Industrial Park where a power plant could be built.

The authority has been trying to sell the parcel the past 15 years, but it has characteristics that have turned prospective buyers away. The property has a severe slope to it, Martin said.

Only about one acre would be needed, for a power generation facility, so the parcel would serve well for that purpose, he said.

Martin said the generation process remains to be determined, as well as the product, which could be electricity or hot water.

The primary consumers of would be industrial park tenants, but other users outside the park might also be targeted, he said.

The authority also voted Monday to ask the city to sell a municipal parking lot off Olive Street to the authority for $1.

The lot is in the downtown Bank Row Urban Renewal District, and the authority intends to build a parking garage on it, to serve primarily the Bank Row properties it is redeveloping.

Under the plan, the authority would lease the lot back to the city, so the city could maintain it. Meanwhile, the authority would apply for grants to build the garage.

By David A. Vallette

The Republican

29 July 2008

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2008/07/29/greenfield-authority-considers-energy-business/