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Taftsville Solar Project Withdrawn, Cemetery Association Buys The Land

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Charlotte Albright/file
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VPR
This 15-acre parcel in Taftsville will not be used for a solar project, as proposed by a Massachusetts developer.

The Upper Valley village of Taftsville will not be getting a large solar array after all.  The developer has withdrawn his offer for the land, and there is a new buyer.

The proposal by a Massachusetts company called Triland Partners to place 2,000 solar panels on a 15-acre parcel of meadows and woods ran into stiff opposition from neighbors. Even if they could not see the site from their own properties, many believed it was out of place in this small scenic village which is part of Woodstock. Also, the meadow includes some wetland and abuts an historic cemetery. Tom Garden, the developer, tried hard to convince opponents that the solar power would help the town’s carbon footprint and bottom line. But in early July, he agreed to withdraw his offer for the land, opening the way for the Cemetery Association to buy it instead.

Charlie Wilson, an amateur historian and president of the Taftsville Cemetery Association, helped raise the $170,000 needed to buy the parcel. But he says he was stunned by the success of the fundraising campaign.

"And it took a while to sink in that actually that this was going to happen, that the land was going to be taken over by the cemetery and Taftsville would be preserved for the present and for generations to come,” Wilson said. 

The municipal manager of Woodstock, which includes the village of Taftsville, says he is also pleased that the land will remain agricultural.

Calls to solar developer Tom Garden were not immediately returned.