Randall Lane Solar Array Begins ConCom Hearings

            On an evening when their agenda was packed with continued hearings, new hearings, and a large handful of other matters, the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission opened the Notice of Intent hearing for a mega-sized solar array planned by Randall Lane, LLC. On October 26, the commissioners saw for the first time the scope of the 7.5-megawatt project planned by SunRaise Investments and engineered by Beals and Thomas. Both the Conservation Commission and the vested parties agreed on one thing: This project would take a number of meetings to complete.

            Much as he had when the site plan review was opened with the Planning Board one week earlier, Beals and Thomas representative Eric Las gave an overview of the project touching on the size of site, stormwater management systems, and roadway conditions. The current access to the site is a private unpaved lane that traverses two culverts. Las stated that steel plates would protect the culverts from trucks used for the construction of the array and commented that the area had been heavily logged without damage to the culverts.

            After sharing an outline of the project that will skirt Route 195 to the north of the site and private properties to the south, east, and west – including properties in Fairhaven – Las pointed out the wetland features for the commissioners.

            Las said that there are large areas of jurisdictional acres that include, but are not limited to, the Mattapoisett River Valley, perennial streams, and bordering vegetable wetlands. He confirmed that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection had made comments to the plans (those comments were not disclosed at this meeting). He also said that the project must meet guidelines set out by the Massachusetts Wildlife Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program and the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act.

            Representing abutters Chris and Veronica Brockwell, whose Cedar Rock farm meets the borders of the proposed solar site, was Bill Madden of G.A.F. Engineering and Attorney Jim Marsh. Madden had submitted for the commission’s consideration a letter noting several areas he believed needed clarification and investigation.

            Of specific interest to Madden was the mapping used to establish wetlands and other site features, saying the map submitted did not “sync with reality.” Madden also wanted more details with respect to the decommissioning statement and noted that the battery storage units planned at the entrance of the site weighed 90,000 pounds. He also believed that the planned single electrical underground conduit would not be sufficient and that additional conduits under the roadway would eventually be added. “The Notice of Intent doesn’t seem to have everything that is in their proposal,” said Marsh.

            Chairman Mike King said that all questions and concerns would be answered in due course and thanked the Brockwells’ representatives for their comments.

            Las said that his office had received notification from the Mattapoisett River Valley Water District, which found no deficits in the plan as submitted.

            Both the commission and the project representatives agreed that peer-review consultant(s) would be needed. King said he would reach out to Planning Board Chairman Tom Tucker to ascertain that board’s focus for peer consultancy to avoid overlapping tasks.

            The project was continued until November 9.

            In other business, David Davignon of Schneider, Davignon and Leone represented several clients in cases, including both newly opened and continued filings.

            A Request for Determination of Applicability filed by Thomas Pilleri of 26 Centre Street for landscape improvements received a negative determination, as did a filing by Andrew Bishins, 20 Winnatuxet, to repair an existing wooden walkway. Also represented by Davignon was John O’Reilly, 6 Pearl Street, whose RDA received approval with a negative determination of applicability.

            Davignon remained front and center with a Notice of Intent filing by Antassawamock Club for repairs to a stormwater outfall pipe that received conditions, and a Request to Amend an NOI filing by James Craig for property off Aucoot Road for invasive species removal was granted.

            Michael Bachstein, 124 Acushnet Road, represented by Rick Ricco of Field Engineering, received a negative determination of applicability for the construction of an in-ground pool.

            Representing Laura Hartnett, 6 Ocean View Avenue, was John Cacanaro with an RDA for modifications to an existing home subject to coastal zone flowage. The filing received a negative determination.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission is scheduled for November 9 at 6:30 pm.

Mattapoisett Conservation Commission

By Marilou Newell

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