UPDATE, 1:47 p.m., Sept. 20
WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — The Westborough Planning Board stayed late into the night Tuesday to come to a decision on amendments for the solar panel bylaw proposal that will be up for the October Town Meeting warrant.
The board removed the setback requirement from conservation and recreational district. There is already a 25-foot buffer zone requirement in place.
They also discussed a rule that would allow residentially-zoned properties exceeding a certain acreage to apply for a special permit, but chose not to add it. Residential projects will still need to follow the same process of appealing to the zoning board for a variance.
Members of the planning board will attend Tuesday's Board of Selectmen meeting to present the proposal for the Town Meeting warrant.
See the PDF attached at the bottom of original story for the final draft of the proposal.
WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Planning Board members have opted to reconvene in order to discuss amending the proposal for solar panel bylaws that will be up for vote at Westborough's Oct. 15 Town Meeting.
Westborough residents expressed concerns about various issues during a public hearing at this month's scheduled Planning Board meeting. Significant discussion was lent to changing the required setback of 100 feet from certain zoning districts, along with giving the board the ability to grant special permits to allow "large-scale ground-mounted solar photovoltaic installations" to be built within residential zones.
"You're trying to put me into a round peg, and it just doesn't fit," said Jim Harvey, whose proposal to build a 3 megawatt solar farm on his residentially zoned farm was the impetus for the discussion. "You would have to be on my property to see what I'm proposing — or flying over it."
The original proposal, available online, did not provide for any special permitting. The board had not yet decided on the date of the next meeting, but said it must be before next Tuesday. In order for the proposal to be on the Town Meeting warrant, it must be approved by the Board of Selectmen by its Sept. 25 meeting.
The board told Board of Selectmen Chair Leigh Emery, who was in attendance as a concerned citizen, that they will present the final draft of the proposal at Tuesday's meeting.