On April 19, Mattapoisett Town Administrator Michael Gagne came before the Zoning Board of Appeals with an application for a Special Permit for the construction of a photovoltaic solar array on top of the capped landfill located on Tinkham Hill Road.
Gagne said that an expired Special Permit had been issued about six years prior. However, there weren’t any developers interested in investing at that time because power grid infrastructure improvements are needed. While there was interest in the location, the financials just didn’t work.
With apparent new and rejuvenated interest in that site and several other private properties in town, Gagne felt the time was right to open a new permit.
“Things have changed,” Gagne began. He said sloping topography is no longer a problem for the placement of solar panels.
According to Gagne, several developers are interested in shouldering the investment of upgrading power lines along parts of North Street and Crystal Springs Road. He also said the Crystal Springs Road sub-station needs upgrades to handle additional electricity production.
“We are more optimistic we’ll get a vendor,” Gagne speculated. He said his office had been in discussions with Sun Power and Blue Wave, LLC. Sun Power is working with Old Rochester Regional High School on a possible array installation at the high school, and Blue Wave has been a good business partner to the town on other solar projects, said Gagne.
The 147-acre site located at the end of Tinkham Hill Road abuts Haskell’s Swamp and several private undeveloped parcels. Gagne noted that there would be no impact on area residents, and the private lots near the landfill could be leased for solar development as well.
“The revenue the town would get could help with capital projects,” said Gagne, something that the selectmen believed made the projects attractive.
Gagne told the ZBA that not only would non-taxed municipal lands become taxable commercial property, but also that a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program, like others the town now has in place, would generate new revenue.
When asked if the only benefit to the town would be money, Gagne said the town could also apply for energy credits that would be used to offset power consumption by municipal buildings and schools. The board unanimously approved the Special Permit.
In other matters, the board gave special permit approval to Vince Mondo, 11 Waterman Street, to construct a shed that would not meet setbacks. He explained that the family wished to store a car on the property, and abutters supported the plan.
Special Permits were granted to Jeffrey and Laurie Roberts, 5 Woodlawn Avenue, for the construction of a new deck, and to Paula Coffey, 64 Shore Drive, to demolish a house and construct a new one.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for May 16 at 6:00 pm in the town hall conference room if there are any ensuing applications.
Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals
By Marilou Newell