LETTER: Author of Watertown’s Solar Requirement Thanks Supporters, Urges More Action

The following statement was read, in part, to the Town Council on Dec. 11, 2018, by Watertown Resident Jocelyn Tager. The requirement to have solar power systems on new developments over a certain size was passed by the Town Council on Nov. 27, 2018, making the town the first in the state to adopt such a requirement. Here is the full version:

My name is Jocelyn Tager.

Sen. Brownsberger Hosts Discussion on the Future of Energy, Environmental Policy

The following announcement was provided by Sen. Will Brownsberger’s office:

Senator Will Brownsberger will host – alongside Senator Michael Barrett (D-Lexington), Transportation for Massachusetts‘ Executive Director Chris Dempsey, and the Environmental League of Massachusetts‘ Legislative Director Casey Bowers – a town hall discussion on the future of energy and environmental policy in Massachusetts. WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 8 from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main St., Watertown, MA

This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend to learn more and ask questions. For more information, contact Quinn Diaz at 617-722-1280 or quinn.diaz@masenate.gov

Council to Look at Ways to Increase the Number Trees Along Watertown’s Streets

Having trees on your street can reduce the heat in the summer, prevent flooding when it rains and can even increase property values. However, a study of street trees done by Watertown High School students found that many residents have few or no trees along their blocks. Monday night, the results of a survey of more than 3,400 street trees around Watertown were presented to a joint meeting of the Town Council’s Public Works and Rules & Ordinances subcommittees. The group made a recommendation to the full Town Council to seek ways to use the data to bring trees to streets that lack them. The data was presented by two members of Trees for Watertown, a citizens group committed to planting and maintain trees in town.

Gifts to Teens for Trees Program Honor Watertown Tree Activist Adelaide Sproul

The following piece was provided by Trees for Watertown:

TFW Teens for Trees, a six-week summer internship program to teach Watertown teens about the many benefits of maintaining a healthy urban shade tree population, received two generous donations this Fall in honor of former longtime Watertown resident Adelaide Sproul. Adelaide Sproul was a painter, sculptor and writer, and a founder and early president of Trees for Watertown (TFW), a volunteer citizens group founded in 1985 to protect and plant public shade trees and to advocate for a healthy urban forest in Watertown. Ms. Sproul lived and worked on the top floor of a house overlooking Whitney Hill Woods until shortly before her death in 2009 at age 95. “Adelaide was an early proponent of TFW and the prime mover organizing the first Whitney Woods Cleanup Days,” said Paul A, Tamburello Jr., longtime neighbor of Ms. Sproul, who gave a matching-funds gift of $500 in Ms. Sproul’s honor to Trees for Watertown’s fundraising campaign for Teens for Trees. “She would be over the moon about the central project to inventory Watertown’s public shade trees.”

Watertown Residents Can Get a Discount on Home Solar Systems in October

The following information was provided by Neighborhood Solar:

Watertown residents can get a discount on home solar systems during the month of October. October is National Energy Awareness Month. During the month of October, through Neighborhood Solar, Watertown, Belmont, and Cambridge residents and landlords can obtain a free solar evaluation, proposal, and a discount of $1,000 off a solar voltaic system installed by SunBug Solar.  To inquire about this October offer, contact Neighborhoodsolar@sunbugsolar.com.

Watertown Group Hosting Meeting on Encouraging State to Pass Renewable Energy Bill

Watertown climate change group hosting meeting on pushing for a renewable energy bill in the State Legislature. The following was provided by Watertown Faces Climate Change:

If citizens want to be involved they can visit the meeting of Watertown Faces Climate Change, 20 Summer Street, Watertown  4:15 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 15, 2018. If you want more info call Lissa Gifford, 617-923-0779. See more information about the effort here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PfRb1zb-Fif0iOlxK1yuE5-fvFB-1I63dn_A89mmlLY/edit

Solar Panel Requirement for New Buildings Supported by Council Subcommittee

New developments in Watertown would have to put up a solar energy system if the zoning amendment heard by a Town Council subcommittee is adopted by the full Town Council. Watertown would become the first community in Massachusetts to require solar energy systems on new developments, Ed Lewis, the Town’s Energy Manager, told the Economic Development and Planning Committee Tuesday night. Other communities and the state has come up with proposed ordinances, but none has enacted them, Lewis said. Town Councilor Vincent Piccirilli said it is nice to be leading the way. “I’m excited to be the first in the state to require solar on buildings,” Piccirilli said.

Teens Spending the Summer Mapping & Indentifying Watertown’s Street Trees

A group of about a dozen teens from Watertown will fan out around town this summer to find out where the street trees are, and where they could be planted. The Teens for Trees program started last summer, when half a dozen students learned about trees, met with experts and combed the streets of Watertown to find trees in need of help. This year the students will be more focused, said program coordinator David Meshoulam, who said the teens will be mapping street trees in Watertown to create an inventory. “There were 4,000-5,000 trees when the last inventory was done in 2008,” Meshoulam said. “A lot has happened since that time: a lot of development, a lot of trees have been taken down and a lot have been planted.”