North Presents Board’s Take on Solar Bylaw

The Marion Planning Board discussed the drafting of a solar bylaw, currently a joint venture by both the Planning Board and the Marion Energy Management Committee, at their regular meeting on Monday, October 15.

North spoke on behalf of the Board presenting the solar bylaw terms sheet with full support of fellow Board members, as well as addressing current areas of concern about unregulated solar development. In attendance at the meeting was Bill Saltonstall, who represented the EMC.

“Most important is that non-commercial roof-mounted solar panels be considered a home’s accessory,” North said. “That should be allowed in Marion in all zoning districts.”

North’s terms sheet states that solar panels meeting this category would require a building permit.

For larger projects, namely small-scale solar farms or pole- and ground-mounted solar panels, North recommended that the bylaw require a special permit and site plan review. Additionally, small-scale solar farms would be limited to commercial zoning.

“We ought to be looking at a restriction or prohibition on large-scale solar farms,” North said.

Chairman Jay Ryder commended North’s work on the terms sheet.

“This is a very good start and we want feedback from the Energy Management Committee on the term sheets,” Ryder said.

Saltonstall questioned the Board’s support of North’s presentation.

“It would help us to know that this committee supports the terms,” Saltonstall said. “This sounds like Ted North’s proposal. We want to be sure that this is the Planning Board’s proposal.”

Ryder responded in the affirmative.

“I might reiterate the confidence of the Planning Board in Ted North and Sherman Briggs’ abilities to handle these bylaw issues,” Ryder said.

“We’d like to get together with Ted and other representatives to get this thing through,” Saltonstall said.

In its other business, the Board voted to grant the River Road Definitive Subdivision Plan, care of Morse Engineering Company, Inc., an extension of its continued public hearing until Tuesday, November 20.

The public hearing was continued until Monday, November 5 at 7:10 pm per request by Gregory Morse.

The Board then discussed the current traffic problems at Cumberland Farms. Board members have completed a site visit and are in the process of meeting with representatives of the business.

“We’ve got 18-wheelers that are parking in the wrong spaces and are not allowing traffic to go in and out as they should,” Ryder said. “Deliveries have to park in the designated areas and there’s really only one.”

The Board is also concerned about simultaneous deliveries.

“There are multiple deliveries going on at the same time and that doesn’t work,” Ryder said. “That’s fine on the same day but not at the same time.”

In its last business, the Board consulted with Susan Nilson of CLE Engineering, who was representing Kittansett for a pre-submission conference. Nilson said that Kittansett is planning to build a pump house near its existing maintenance building and wished to have confirmation that only a minor site plan review would be required.

“We’re dealing with a minor site plan review because the pump house does not exceed 2,000 square feet,” Ryder confirmed.

The next meeting of the Marion Planning Board will be held on Monday, November 5 at 7:00 pm in the Town House.

By Anne Smith

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