KINGSTON SOLAR POWER: If they want it, it might come

June 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Special Town Meeting voters will be asked to help T.L. Edwards owner Terry Edwards decide what to do with his Kingston property.

Solar panels on the site are one possibility he’s exploring.

An article on the June 26 warrant would allow for the possibility of solar panels on the site. According to Edwards’ attorney, Brian Joyce, the article is essentially a call to the community to help determine the best use of the property. There is no definite plan.

“There is no plan whatsoever,” he said. “We haven’t even had any preliminary discussions with solar energy providers. We’re just trying to figure out what future uses of a portion of the land would be welcomed by the town and the neighbors.”

Joyce, who is a state senator, said solar is a passive use of the land that could provide some financial benefit to the town and would not be a detriment to any neighbors. The land was previously P.A. Landers property.

Approval of the warrant article does not mean that any solar project will go forward, he explained. If Town Meeting expresses a willingness to explore the matter further, contact would be made with solar energy companies to gauge their interest.

“If there is interest, and it makes sense for T.L. Edwards, we would then engage in discussions with the neighbors and town officials,” he said. “If there continued to be interest, we would need approvals from town boards, such as the conservation commission, the planning board, and the zoning board of appeals. We want to take the town’s temperature before spending too much time or money on this idea, and so far we haven’t heard any objections.”

Town Planner Tom Bott said Edwards contacted him at the beginning of the year for suggested use of the property, and solar was one option that was discussed. Bott said one requirement of the Planning Board would be compliance with frontage requirements, necessitating construction of a road to the solar panel site. The frontage requirement is 200 feet in the Residential 80 zone.

The warrant article specifically seeks to amend the section of the town’s zoning bylaws on the Large-scale Ground-mounted Solar Photovoltaic Overlay District by amending the zoning map to expand the overlay district to include the parcel of land off Monks Hill Road.

“This would be the first step in a process to have solar panels put on the site,” Bott said.

Joyce said he could not pinpoint a timeframe for any project going forward. He said it’s important to Edwards and his company to have good relations with Kingston officials and neighbors, and assuming no objections, would move forward if a solar company and Edwards agree it makes financial sense.

A public hearing on this and other proposed zoning bylaw changes on the Special Town Meeting warrant will be held at 7:05 p.m. Monday, June 11, at the Kingston Town House.

kgallerani@wickedlocal.com

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