Public Hearing on Solar Bylaw

During my first month as News Editor at The Wanderer, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many residents of the Tri-Town and getting a crash course in both the area’s history and way of life. I’ve learned a lot in a short time and can’t wait to learn more. Thanks to all of those in Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester who have been so welcoming, helpful and generous with their time. I’m honored to be working at The Wanderer, which has a strong tradition of public service journalism in this close-knit and active community, and I look forward to helping strengthen the paper’s commitment to quality coverage and timely information every week. Should our readers ever have any suggestions, comments, questions, concerns or tips about our News section, I can be reached at 508-758-9055 or

But enough about me. I’d like to use my first Editor’s Pick to suggest Marion residents’ attendance at the Planning Board’s April 16 public hearing at the Town Hall. Now, this might seem like a pretty dry pick with all of the great spring festivities going on and summer right around the corner, but the importance of the hearing’s agenda shouldn’t be overlooked.

At issue will be the proposed solar bylaw. Currently, the bylaw, which formalizes the process for installing residential solar arrays in Marion while also recommending a Municipal Solar Overlay District, is slated for a vote at the May 13 Town Meeting. The policy has been spearheaded by the Energy Management Committee, with input from the Marion Planning Board, and signed off on by the Board of Selectmen.

But there’s a hitch.

Members of the Planning Board, namely Ted North, have expressed dissatisfaction with how seriously their input has been taken, as well as with aspects of the solar bylaw itself, including a perceived lack of adequate permit requirements and a questionable paper trail leading to the bylaw’s inclusion on the Town Warrant. Meanwhile, the EMC, led by Chairman David Pierce and Dr. Jennifer Francis, are insisting that they followed all protocols in shepherding the bylaw and that a more arduous permit process would discourage participation in an important energy program that could save money and, ultimately, help save the planet.

Here’s where you come in.

On Tuesday, April 16, you have the chance to weigh in at the Planning Board’s public hearing. It starts at 5:00 pm at the Town Hall. In the meantime, you can find letters to the editor from both sides in this issue.

When The Wanderer covers the Tri-Town’s governmental meetings, our reporters love nothing more than to see crowds of residents and spirited discussion. In turn, we’re looking forward to Tuesday and hope to see you there. I promise I’ll give you my seat if it’s a full house.

By Shawn Badgley

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