BY GABE LICHT
The past week was full of meetings, five in total, with four of them coming within a 24-hour window.
Covering meetings is an important part of being an editor. Not only can the agenda items make news, but meetings are also a good place to find leads for future stories.
That was the case with some of the meetings I covered this week, and I am thankful for those instances.
But, there was also a meeting that was quite frustrating to cover. It wasn’t frustrating because of the governing body’s decision, or even their discussion. It was frustrating because, at times, I could not hear said discussion, and I even had to ask for their decision to be repeated because I could not hear it over the dull roar of the crowd.
In case you haven’t guessed, I’m referencing the Franklin Township Board meeting regarding proposed solar gardens.
I understand the emotion surrounding this issue. Many people find solar panels to be unattractive and have concerns about stray voltage, the long-term effects of a solar garden on agricultural land, and whether or not these companies pay their fair share in taxes, among other concerns.
The supervisors heard those concerns, and echoed some of them, but, ultimately can’t do much about them beyond voicing them to the powers that be at the county level.
So, I guess my question is, was it constructive to debate the issue at the township level for more than an hour and a half? Is it worth it to raise your voice to the point of yelling just to make a point?
I would argue that it is neither constructive nor is it worth it to do so.
But, I’m also not going to voice my frustrations without offering a solution.
So, here it is: voice your opinion to those with the final say, and even those who have authority over those people.
I am talking about the Wright County Planning Commission, Wright County Board, and Minnesota legislators.
The planning commission will make a decision about two properties in question during a meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Wright County Government Center.
My advice to those with opinions about solar gardens in Franklin Township is to take your turns at the podium during that meeting.
After the planning commission, the Wright County Board will take that decision into consideration and make a final decision, so it would probably be worth it to contact them, as well.
If you’re concerned about the zoning of solar gardens, you may want to go a step further and contact Rep. Joe McDonald and Sen. Bruce Anderson, because the state allows solar gardens to be on agricultural land.
Take the energy and passion you have and turn it into a letter or conversation with some of these decision makers.
Doing so is your right, so I hope you take advantage of it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it is also your right to voice your opinions at township meetings. I’m not speaking out against that right, I am just encouraging people to speak out in the right way at these venues: respectively and constructively.