The November 15 meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board found Chairman Tom Tucker nudging the board towards closing the public hearing for the site plan review of Randall Lane Solar LLC’s project. Tucker was also looking to have finalization of the members’ decision.
Coming before the board as he has done for just over a year was Eric Las of Beals and Thomas Inc., along with legal team member attorney Greg Sampson. Las listed the last few items the board had requested of the development team to complete for the site plan review, such items as a certificate from the state secretary of Environmental Affairs noting completion of that agency’s review, a decommissioning bond of $451,000 that includes the removal of all above and below-grade electrical systems, and a letter from Fire Chief Andrew Murray basically saying that the roadway meets the needs of the department in the event of an emergency.
Las also said that Murray had requested training sessions for all Fire Department personnel for complete understanding of alarm and suppression systems. “I believe we have satisfied everything you asked for,” Las concluded.
But that comment didn’t stop members Karen Field and Janice Robbins from asking more questions. Field stuck to earlier comments and questions she had about possible toxic site conditions upon the termination of the solar array’s lifespan. Robbins’ questions centered on the need of the board to be in possession of all final documents before rendering a decision.
Field’s questions and concerns prompted Tucker to say that the board was asking the same questions over and over again. Robbins questions’ were process driven.
Robbins said that the board was not in receipt of a complete final set of site plans and documents that would include performance standards and decommissioning plans. She also said that, while it had been implied throughout numerous hearings that there was an agreement between the property owner and the developer, that agreement in writing had yet to be produced. Robbins also said that a copy of the conservation restriction that would permanently place 80 acres out of reach from future development had not been provided.
Las responded that what Robbins was requesting is usually done through conditioning written into the decision. Robbins stood firm in her belief that the board needs all final documents before handing down a decision.
Tucker referred to an email from the town’s counsel that noted the board could close the site plan review hearing and move to approve the project “subject to finalization of the decision.” Robbins disagreed, saying, “Why don’t we just wait until we have everything?” She cautioned that plans could be changed, that the site plan review was the major part of the project under their control, and that it was premature to approve without a complete packet of final documents.
Tucker asked and received a motion to close the public hearing of the site plan review, and Las continued the request for a final decision until December 6. Tucker cautioned Las not to wait to the last minute to provide documents in advance of the next meeting.
The board approved Christian Farland’s request for the acceptance of a $77,000 performance bond versus a $1,500,000 lender’s bond. He explained to the board that his insurance provider could not give him the cash surety because there already existed the previous developer’s lender’s bond.
Farland is the new owner of Brandt Point Village, a 90-bedroom subdivision that has changed ownership several times over the years. He noted there remain 19 lots. The board approved his request along with his commitment to meet with the board once a month to keep them fully apprised of progress.
Also approved was the second and last lot release for a two-lot subdivision at the end of Snow Field Road. This came after written confirmation from Highway Superintendent Garrett Bauer noted his acceptance of the use of trap rock to keep stormwater from escaping onto neighboring properties.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board is scheduled for Monday, December 6, at 7:00 pm.
Mattapoisett Planning Board
By Marilou Newell