Waterville Planning Board recommends council rezone properties for solar farms – Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

Planning Board members Bruce White, left, Samantha Burdick, right, and developer Kevin Violette at the site of a proposed solar farm off County Road in Waterville. Photo courtesy of Bruce White

WATERVILLE — The Planning Board on Monday voted to recommend the City Council create a solar farm district and rezone properties on County and Webb roads so solar farms may be developed there.

The Planning Board may not make zoning changes or create a solar farm district in the zoning ordinance — only the council has that authority, according to City Planner Ann Beverage. The Planning Board may make recommendations to the council, however.

Beverage reported Wednesday that board member Tom Nale Jr. resigned from the board Tuesday. She said the mayor appoints a person to fill such a position and the City Council would consider confirming that candidate.

Meanwhile, the board voted 6-1 Monday to recommend the council revise the zoning ordinance to allow for establishment of a new solar farm district in which the only permitted use would be solar farms, according to Beverage. Member Cathy Weeks was the lone dissenter.

Weeks maintains that people who buy homes in residential zones expect those properties will continue to be zoned for residential use, but board Chairman Paul Lussier has said having a solar farm district allows the council to determine where solar farms are located, on a case-by-case basis.

The board voted 6-1 to recommend the council approve a request by Kevin Violette of Holmes Farm Associates to rezone part of County Road from Rural Residential to Solar Farm District to allow for the construction of a solar farm. Weeks was the lone dissenter.

The board voted 7-0 to recommend the council approve a request by Roland Rossignol and NextGrid to rezone part of Webb Road from Rural Residential to Solar Farm District to allow a solar farm to be built there.

“No one showed up to oppose it and it is across the street from the city’s landfill,” Beverage said, “and they asked me if anybody had contacted me about it and no one had. There’s a wooded buffer around three sides of this and the ordinance requires the front of the property have a buffer along the road.”

In other matters, the board voted 7-0 to approve a final plan by Kingston Properties LLC to have a total of four residential units at 209 College Ave., at the corner of College Avenue and Allen Street. The property abuts a car wash lot.

The board delayed considering revisions to an ordinance that would prohibit the parking of commercial vehicles on residential streets. The request followed residents’ complaints about flatbed trucks being parked on High Street. Neighbors have complained that the flatbed wreckers create a traffic hazard, obstruct traffic, diesel engines are loud, and come and go at all hours of the night.

“The Planning Board discussed it and decided they needed more time to think about this, so they are postponed voting on this until the July 6 meeting,” Beverage said.

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Source: https://www.centralmaine.com/2020/06/24/waterville-planning-board-recommends-council-rezone-properties-for-solar-farms/

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