A public hearing will be held next Wednesday on the proposed 1.9-megawatt solar array.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Some 11 acres of heavily vegetated land on East Street is eyed to be cleared to make way for a commercial solar array.
BVD Solar is seeking a special permit to construct a 1.9-megawatt array on a 73-acre percent near Winesap Road — the parcel just to the west of the Yankee Orchards.
Of that 73 acres, 20.6 will be cut off from the parcel for the solar array installed and 11 acres of that will need to be cleared.
"This is what you call outer east street," City Planner CJ Hoss said. "There is quite a bit of vegetation on that parcel right now."
The plan went before the Community Development Board for a site plan review on Tuesday. But the developer or an engineer wasn't there to give a presentation. Hoss said something must have gone wrong with the communication because that was the first time in six years a project of such a scale didn't have representation.
Nonetheless, the Community Development Board went ahead with its recommendations on the site plan as outlined by city staff. Hoss said the project raises little concern and in prior projects, BVD has shown its willingness to work with neighbors.
The Zoning Board of Appeals is the ultimate permit granting authority and a public hearing on the project is scheduled before that board next Wednesday.
Hoss did, however, raise some concern regarding the proximity to neighbors. He suggested screening should specifically be considered by the ZBA.
"The usual issue we have with these solar projects is visibility, especially with the residential neighborhood in the area," Hoss said.
He added that even with screening requirements, having the city return to the site in the future to make sure it is sufficient would be a good idea.
"There is so much land clearing that needs to be done that it is difficult to tell what is visible and what is not," Hoss said.
Board member Louis Costi was particularly concerned with the neighborhood impacts. He isn't sure if the neighborhood knows right now how big of a project this will actually be. Costi pushed for the board to delay a decision to be able to reschedule a time to meet with the developers.
Fellow board member David Hathaway countered Costi, saying the developers aren't required to attend the meeting, that the board had limited scope in what it can do, and that the board has enough information based on the application.
He added since the ZBA is the permit granting authority, that board's hearing is another chance to bring concerns to the developer.
"There is no reason not to approve the site plan because there is nothing wrong with it," Hathaway said.
Hoss added, "if there were significant concerns here, as a staff we would push you to delay it."
Ultimately the board approved the site plan with Costi abstaining from the vote.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to email@example.com.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Pittsfield Chooses Tyer And Mazzeo For Mayoral Election
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Voters casting ballots at Tuesday's preliminary election chose mayoral candidates Linda Tyer and Melissa Mazzeo to face off for the general election in November.
They also thinned out the herd in two ward races to place the names of Jonathan Lothrop and Patrick Kavey on the ballot for Ward 5 and candidates Joseph Nichols and Dina Guiel Lampiasi for Ward 6.
On the mayoral front, Councilor at Large Melissa Mazzeo received the most votes out of the four candidates on the ballot with an unofficial count of 2,860 votes. Incumbent Mayor Linda Tyer received 2,571 votes.
The two mayor candidates were favorites in the race, and performed well above Rusty Anchor owner Scott Graves and retired Pittsfield Police Officer Karen Kalinowsky. Graves took 343 votes while Kalinowsky took 281 votes.
Parks and Open Spaces Manager James McGrath asked the committee Monday for permission to spend down the balance of the city's Community Preservation Funds to find a new location for the beach.
click for more
While the entire city will be deciding which two of the four candidates for mayor will be moving on to the general election in November, only Wards 5 and 6 will determine the top two candidates vying to representative their precincts. Neither ward has an incumbent running but both have former city... click for more
There are 520 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students in the district. On the other side of the spectrum, there are 1,632 high school students and 400 career and technical education students.
click for more
Mayor Linda Tyer named Sammons chief last week and he was sworn in to take immediate command of the Fire Department. Tuesday's broadcast event was largely to celebrate his promotion and introduce him to the council and the city.
click for more