What was billed as an interactive Town Hall to hear from stakeholders was in fact a webinar where only a number of hand picked panelists could speak or even be seen. In the words of one participant in the Q+A chat box "I don't think I can be seen or heard by others in the meeting - is that how this meeting is supposed to go?" And the response from county staff - "Yes."
- Facts must rule. A number of ZTA proponents said things that are not entirely accurate about this proposal or require a more nuanced understanding. For instance - that the power generated by these arrays will go to MoCo residents (about 4% of it will) and that the ZTA is exclusively community solar ( it is not.) Please read our fact sheet here.
- This proposal is exclusively about the Ag Reserve, and is unanimously opposed by Reserve farmers. A better understanding of the Ag Reserve's central purpose in the master plan is important before acting. For example, comments were made that this is actually a win for struggling farmers (this proposal, even without passage is in fact already ending leases, the lifeblood of Reserve farming and keeping new farmers from getting started). Another commenter said this ZTA has already been amended to protect productive soils (not at all). Optimistically, those holding an inaccurate view of the Reserve and the County’s rural communities might come to know and understand more before issuing edicts as to their future.
- We need to get a standard understanding of community solar. The point was made a number of times that opponents of this ZTA are not anti-solar. MCA and our many partner groups with deep concerns about this ZTA want to see solar done right - and equitably. A number of industry representatives on the call talked up the benefits of the State's community solar program in which low income residents lock in consistent low energy prices by buying a membership to a solar array nearby. We are in agreement, this program is a great thing- however there is no requirement in this ZTA that the energy generated goes to a the state community solar program. Instead it is required to be net-metered and can then be bought by one of the distributors under investigation for predatory pricing that harms the same low income neighbors that proper community solar would help.