Agawam City Council rejects solar farm ordinance, delays CPA vote

Both items will still be up for further debate June 5th

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – A setback for Agawam Residents looking to stop Eversource Energy from building a solar farm in their neighborhood.

The Agawam town council Monday night rejected efforts to prohibit solar farms from being built in residential, agricultural or business zones. The vote was 7-to-3.

Eversource Energy wants to build two solar farms on South West and South Westfield Streets. Eversource already owns the property, and the city’s planning department approved their proposals.

Residents who live near the South West Street site were disappointed with Monday’s vote.

“Thats an industrial piece and we don’t think that it belongs on an agriculture piece of land. Right now it’s agriculture and we would like to keep it that way,” said Agawam resident Richard Waite.

However it’s not a done deal just yet. The city council is working to change the ordinance language and could vote on a modified version at their next meeting June 5th.

The city council also took up an article on the Community Preservation Act. Agawam voted to become part of the state CPA program in 2001. It’s 1% added to property tax bills to fund preservation, parks and historic sites.  It costs the average homeowner about $34 a year.

2,200 Agawam residents have signed a petition, asking the city to put a CPA repeal question on the November ballot.
The CPA Committee hopes that doesn’t happen.

“I’m for CPA because I’ve seen what it’s done not only for Aawam but for the commonwealth of Massachusetts… and if you don’t have it, then will we get these projects done? Most likely not,” said CPA Committee Chairman Henry Kozloski.

Back in 2001, the state matched 100% of the funds, but now they only match up to 20%. The council Monday agreed to make the potential question non-binding, but delayed the vote to put it on the ballot until their next meeting June 5th.