VASSALBORO: Two solar farm requests to fill June planners’ agenda

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro Planning Board members ended up with a single application to review at their May 4 meeting. The previous week, Board Chairman Virginia Brackett reported that Sebago Technics had postponed continued review of their application for a solar farm off Cemetery Street.

Brackett said she did not know why Sebago representatives were not ready to appear May 4. Their application is tentatively scheduled for the June planning board meeting.

New (and returning) Codes Officer Richard Dolby expects Sunvest Solar might also be ready for a June 1 presentation on their project on Webber Pond Road. Board members agreed two solar farm applications would fill up the June agenda.

The application reviewed and approved at the May 4 meeting was from Renee Zohar Fischman and Mathew Williams, to reopen the marijuana grow facility in an existing building at 1776 North Belfast Avenue (Route 3).

Action was delayed repeatedly. First, board members had trouble finding copies of the application Fischman and Williams had given previous Codes Officer Paul Mitnik before he retired at the end of April. After Fischman sent the documents, there was another pause as Brackett tried to determine whether anyone was viewing the virtual meeting and wanted to make comments.

“This meeting is going well,” Brackett remarked as board members waited for an answer from the meeting facilitator, David Trask, Vassalboro Community School’s Technology Systems Administrator.

Fischman said she has owned the Route 3 property since September, and she and Williams have been licensed medical marijuana caregivers since January. They intend to abide by state regulations as well as town ordinances.

Board members agreed the application to resume the operation was in order, because it had been closed for less than a year. Once they had necessary documents, they found the project meets all criteria in Vassalboro’s ordinance, and approved it unanimously with three conditions:

  • Fischman and Williams will maintain an adequate odor mitigation system to meet the tenth criterion in the ordinance, which requires the operation not to “adversely affect the use and enjoyment of abutting property as a result of noise, vibrations, fumes, odor, dust, glare, or other cause.”
  • They will send Dolby copies of their state caregiver licenses for town records.
  • The board approval applies only to the marijuana grow facility and does not include the adjoining lot, on which Fischman and Williams plan a modular home and new septic system. For those, they will need appropriate permits from Dolby.

Fischman and Williams plan no changes to the building exterior, access driveways, landscaping or other external factors except addition of motion-activated security cameras and lights on the building. The lights will be down-facing and should not interfere with neighbors or traffic on North Belfast Road or Whitehouse Road, Williams said.


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