CHINA: Three solar projects get planners’ approval

by Mary Grow

At their Jan. 12 meeting, China Planning Board members worked on a proposed solar ordinance that will establish rules for evaluating future applications for solar developments.

The board has approved three solar projects so far, on Route 32 North (Vassalboro Road), off Route 32 South (Windsor Road) and on Route 3 (Belfast Road). They used standards in the land use ordinance that are not completely appropriate.

Board Vice-Chairman Toni Wall adapted a template prepared by Maine Audubon Society into a draft solar ordinance. Board members discussed a few changes, like eliminating references to land use districts and to a town engineer. China has minimal districting and no engineer on staff.

As of Jan 18, the draft ordinance is not available for public review. Board Chairman Randy Downer intends to prepare two on-line versions, one for board members (which they will be able to edit) and another for interested residents, who may make comments through the town office.

Planning board members do not expect to have a solar ordinance ready for voters’ approval or rejection at the May 18 annual town business meeting. They might ask for a vote in June with the school budget validation vote, or in November with local elections.

Downer said town officials plan a May 18 vote on the revised China Comprehensive Plan, drafted by the town’s Comprehensive Planning Committee with assistance from the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments. The final version is on the town website,, under Elections, one of the headings in the left-hand column.

Downer and board members welcomed Scott Rollins, the new District 4 representative. Rollins served on the board in the past; alternate member Jim Wilkens remembered the two overlapped briefly.

The next China Planning Board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, and is expected to be a virtual meeting.


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