Vassalboro board approves solar energy project

by Mary Grow

Four Vassalboro Planning Board members present at the June 2 meeting unanimously approved a solar energy project at 515 Main Street (Route 32) almost opposite Ron’s Auto Parts. (For more information, see The Town Line, May 14)

ReVision Energy, represented by Senior Project Developer, Nate Niles, and Construction Project Manager, Al Copping, plans a community solar farm on Bernie Welch’s land. The solar panels will be surrounded by a seven-foot chain-link fence; residents in Central Maine Power Company’s service area will buy shares in the output.

Planning board members found that the project meets all criteria in Vassalboro’s land use and shoreland ordinances. They added two conditions to their approval:

  • Although the state transportation department has allowed two entrances onto the highway, after construction is complete only the north one is to be used. Niles said there will be almost no traffic in and out of the area.
  • Trees to be cleared between Main Street and the fence will be replaced with shrubbery that will provide visual screening from the highway, without blocking sunlight from the solar panels.

Niles expects work on the development to begin this summer. When he and Copping made their initial presentation May 5, he said work should take two to three months, will be done during daylight hours and should not be very noisy.

Turning to the only other item on the June 2 agenda, board members decided unanimously that Lorilee Dumont can enlarge her Dunham Road building from which she runs her catering and restaurant business without board review. However, should she later want to expand the business, she would need to appear before the board.

Codes Officer Paul Mitnik explained that Dumont wants to add a deck so she can continue to seat six tables of diners while maintaining social distancing. She does not plan to add tables, he said.

The June 2 planning board meeting was in person, not virtual. It was held in the Vassalboro Community School cafeteria so that board and audience members – all masked – could sit at least six feet apart.

The next meeting should be scheduled for Tuesday evening, July 7, the first Tuesday of the month.


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