VASSALBORO: Only one resident attends Longroad Energy hearing

by Mary Grow

Representatives of Longroad Energy Management held open their July 28 public hearing on their proposed solar development at 2579 Riverside Drive for half an hour, but they still attracted only one resident. He expressed no concerns.

The hearing is one of the requirements for Maine Department of Environmental Protection approval. State approval is needed, in addition to a permit from the Vassalboro Planning Board, because the project will cover more than 20 acres – about 27 acres, Kara Moody and David Kane said.

The two appeared before the planning board on May 5 with preliminary information and again on July 7 (see The Town Line, July 16). Because the July 7 application lacked detail on ground to be disturbed, board members voted it incomplete.

Since then, the developers have prepared a plan for state regulators that should also meet town requirements. Most of the lot will be graded, Kane said, to level out humps and hollows. No soil will be permanently removed and no fill will be added.

The entrance road has been relocated from the side of the lot to the middle to minimize potential drainage onto adjacent properties.

At the July meeting, abutter Peter Ditmanson said a stream runs through the property Longroad is leasing. It was not on the initial maps Longroad presented, and Moody said a re-inspection of the property did not find it.

The Vassalboro project is one of Longroad’s smaller ones; it is, however, the first solar development in Vassalboro to exceed 20 acres. Kane said meeting state as well as local standards adds to the cost, but also ensures additional scrutiny to avoid adverse impacts off-site.

Assuming state and local approval, construction could start with clearing a few trees along one side in January 2021, go on to preliminary grading after mud season ends and continue into the summer.

Vassalboro Codes Officer Paul Mitnik said the Longroad application would not be ready for the Aug. 4 planning board meeting, which was canceled. The next regular meeting should be Tuesday, Sept. 1.


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