Engie North America Inc. was seeking an extension to special permits previously issued for projects at 405 South Main St. (Skyline Country Club), 550 North Main St. (Pillar LLC), and land on Partridge Road owned by Petricca Development.
The City Council unanimously backed an effort to reduce the number of commercial solar arrays being installed in residential neighborhoods.
The Zoning Board of Appeals petitioned the council to adopt new rules guiding where solar arrays can be installed. The new ordinance breaks photovoltaic arrays into three sizes and guides the medium and large scale ones to commercial and industrial land.
The ordinance breaks solar proposals into three sizes: small, medium, and large. The medium and large-scale arrays cannot be installed in residential zones. It also sets criteria for commonly cited issues such as decommissioning and maintenance and setback requirements.
Town officials estimate that taxing the two ground-mounted arrays could bring in upwards of $27,000 but recent rulings by the Appellate Tax Board have found in favor of industrial solar arrays because of a state law exempting solar facilities.
A proposed cannabis retailer received the local permits needed for a West Street location.
Devin Bajardi and Mark Penna are planning to open Pure Botanicals inside the existing building at 239 West Street. The plan is to use 7,000 square feet in the rear of the industrial building for the discrete location of the retail shop. The plan estimates for nine total employees and limited alterations to the property.
SunRaise proposes to install a ground-mounted solar array at 101 Grove St., Duke's Sand & Gravel Pit, and is requesting a special permit and site plan approval. The company leases land and roofs to develop solar projects.
Nexamp believes there is still a path to getting a solar array at Pontoosuc Country Club.
The Boston-based company was just recently denied by the Conservation Commission because of the access road to the proposed 6.5-megawatt array infringed on wetlands. The array was hotly contested among the neighbors, who mounted a coordinated opposition to the project at Conservation Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals meetings on it.
Emotion isn't often shown during Conservation Commission meetings, a board known for its technicality and dullness.
But Michele Rivers-Murphy could barely hold it in Thursday night, sitting the City Council Chambers because as the snow fell outside, Rivers-Murphy and what seemed like the entire Ridge Avenue neighborhood were yet again fighting a 6.5 megawatt solar project proposed for the Pontoosuc Lake Country Club and at the end of the night, the Conservation Commission unanimously sided wi