This week’s question is:
There are five uses currently being considered for the town’s former incinerator site. If you were selectman, which use would you vote in favor of as the best option for the land’s post-closure use and why (answer in 300 words or less)?
As chair of the Warrant Committee, member of the Light Board Advisory Committee, and a concerned citizen, I have been studying use of the incinerator site for years. The critical factor is that the EPA requires us to install a cap on a 40-foot-deep ash pile. It is not a suitable location for a heavy structure.
I would vote for energy storage using modern batteries, combined with a solar farm. The site would accommodate a 2-megawatt farm, something as big as all Belmont’s rooftop solar combined. It would have no neighborhood impacts, pose no complications for capping the site, and have no maintenance expenses. This would be a big step toward reaching our Climate Action Goals, improving Belmont Light reliability, and generating revenue.
Another needed use is bulk material storage for DPW, and storage for construction materials for the new school. Some areas could be repurposed when the school is finished.
Energy storage/solar and bulk storage leave room for other passive uses. I favor options that do not impact the cap, and have no upfront capital costs or maintenance/security expenses. Bike paths and green space fall in this category; a skate park would require more study.
The proposed anaerobic digester does not work for all the reasons given by the neighbors. In addition, I conducted an economic analysis of the digester with a fellow Warrant Committee member. We determined that, when the engineering consultant’s faulty economic assumptions are corrected, the project is not viable financially.
The incinerator site is a poor location for a hockey rink. Construction on the ash fill would be very expensive, and even then the ice might crack. It is also too far away. I recommend a new rink near the high school instead.
Original Article - Wicked Local