Biomass Goes Down in Flames…
On a unanimous vote, the Springfield Zoning Board of Appeals overturned the building permit Building Commissioner Steven Desilets issued to Palmer Renewable Energy’s biomass facility slated for Page Boulevard. After nearly two and a half hours of testimony, the Board rejected Desilets and PRE’s contention that the wood-burning plant proposed for the site was not “incineration.” While other issues, including standing were also debated, the argument ultimately turned on the ZBA’s interpretation of the city’s zoning ordinance, an implicit rejection of the standing arguments. The board acted on the first appeal before it, that of Michaelann Bewsee and two nearby residents. The City Council’s appeal has been continued because councilors wanted to confer with each other to determine whether they should advance their appeal or wait until the sustained appeal of Bewsee and others is adjudicated in court. PRE is widely expected to appeal the ZBA’s ruling.
With tonight’s action, PRE officially has NO permits from the city. It only has a temporary air permit from the state, but that does not give them any right to build.
We will have more on this story tomorrow!