FRAMINGHAM — Officials at a Maple Street church are proposing to install solar panels on a canopy over the parish’s parking lot.
Officials with St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, DiPrete Engineering and Plankton Energy submitted plans to the city’s Planning Board to construct a canopy over the church parking lot and to install solar panels. The project area is 16,000 square feet and there are no proposed changes to the existing building.
The church — at 3 Maple St. — is housed in a neighborhood and some residents are concerned about the project and its effect on the surrounding homes. Some during last week’s Planning Board public hearing called the project an eyesore and asked the project team to make it more aesthetically pleasing by adding a landscaping buffer.
“It is a very industrial looking project,” said Maple Street resident Don Copson.
The Rev. Julie Carson met with a handful of neighbors in advance of the meeting to discuss their concerns and said proponents of the solar panels will work with the neighborhood to come to a solution.
“I really do care that this is done with the attention of everyone,” she said.
Carson stressed that the church and project team plan to be good neighbors to those on Maple Street and want to promote renewable energy.
Dan Giuffrido, founder and CEO of New York-based Plankton Energy, told Planning Board members that a transformer on site will not be loud enough to affect the nearby neighbors. The area around the transformer will also be landscaped.
Planning Board members continued the public hearing to allow the project team and neighbors to work on a potential landscaping plan that will make the project less industrial looking.
“We certainly understand that this is a visual impact to the neighborhood looking directly at it,” said Planning Board Chairwoman Kristina Johnson.
The hearing will continue at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 22.
The City Council has approved three municipal solar projects in the past few months, including installing solar panels on the roof of the McAuliffe library branch, on the roof and a canopy over the eastern parking lot at the new Fuller Middle School and on a canopy over the parking lot of Brophy Elementary School.
Jeff Malachowski can be reached at 508-490-7466 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JmalachowskiMW.