Tuesday, October 23, 2012

PLYMOUTH Planning Board: Solar for Old Sandwich

If trees fall off Old Sandwich Road, can they generate electricity? The answer is yes.
A 37-acre solar field is planned off Old Sandwich Road.
The dot on this map shows the approximate location of the site.

The Planning Board was less than thrilled Monday night about plans to transform a 37-acre wooded parcel off Old Sandwich Road into a 6-megawatt solar field. But there wasn’t much board members could do about it.

The project is an allowed use for the site, so it didn’t need Planning Board approval. However, many allowed uses still need to go before the Planning Board for site plan review, as this did Monday. Board members expressed ambivalence about the plan, which will result in the clearing of a large block of land off Old Sandwich Road; many trees will be chopped down to make way for it.

“I hate to see all that land go to a solar farm,” abutter Peter Stearns told the board. He bemoaned the fact that solar energy projects continually crop up, prompting the clearing of pristine land. He wondered why more solar energy can’t be harvested from rooftops. Planning Board member Paul McAlduff said the town explored the possibility of putting solar panels on the school roofs, but the snow load prevented the plan. In the past, this Old Sandwich Road landowner has considered a subdivision, a golf course and even a movie studio on the parcel, Directing of Planning and Development Lee Hartmann said. This use is far less disruptive to the area than these other options.

“If I were an abutter, I would take this over a residential subdivision any day,” Hartmann added.

Sage Stone is proposing a 6-megawatt solar array off Old Sandwich Road, northeast of Route 3. Director Richard Kleiman said his company is planning to lease the site from the owner, Pomatomus Retrieval Company. The project is expected to require installation of approximately 31,250 panels, each generating 240 watts, situated about 460 feet from the existing 190-foot cell tower on an abutting parcel also owned by Pomatomus. The array will be located 2,300 feet from the nearest home. The energy generated is equivalent to what would be needed to power 1,200 homes.

Just hours before the board reviewed the solar field project, it signed off on subdividing Pomatomus Retrieval Company’s 300-acre Old Sandwich Road lot into three sections – the 37-acre lot was one of these three. Splitting the lots just makes it easier to deal with them as separate units, local attorney Don Quinn, of Pomatomus Retrieval Company, explained. No approval was required to subdivide the parcel.

The Planning Board reluctantly signed off on the solar field project, stipulating that the applicant ensure there is adequate on-site drainage.

Source: http://www.wickedlocal.com/plymouth/news/x866123293/PLYMOUTH-Planning-Board-Solar-for-Old-Sandwich#axzz26wvlmkEd

No comments: