WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — After months of appeals and requests, the Westborough Zoning Board of Appeals granted Jim Harvey permission to build a large-scale solar field on his residentially zoned farm.
"And now the crowd goes wild," said a man in attendance at the meeting, eliciting cheers and clapping from the audience after the long saga for the local farmer.
"It feels great," Harvey said. "There's a lot of people that have been working for a long time on this."
It wasn't all good news for the project, however. Charles Jenkins, project manager, said due to the length of time it took for the project to be approved, it likely won’t be completed by the end of this year. If that is the case, investors in the project will lose between $4 million to $5 million in potential state incentives.
"Our investors lost some millions of dollars but they're still on the project. They took the loss, they took the hit, but we'll get it done as soon as possible and get it up and running," Jenkins said. "What it means for Jim Harvey—this is huge."
The next step will be to bring the materials for the project to Harvey's Farm at 7 Maple Ave., but construction cannot begin until a 20-day waiting period is up to allow for further appeals of the ruling. A site plan review by the town will also have to be completed.
"There's so many people that I don't even know that have shown up and shown their support. It's just overwhelming," Harvey said.