Mattapoisett solar project will see the light of day after all
MATTAPOISETT — The Planning Board approved construction of two solar farms on Bowman Road at a May 21 meeting over the continued objections of the Mattapoisett Land Trust and neighbors because it had no legal basis to deny the permit.
The approval marked the end of a long process that included the company taking the Zoning Board of Appeals to the Land Court after being turned down for a permit to build in November 2019.
The Planning Board approved the project because it met all the town's zoning requirements and members did not have legal authority to deny a building permit on the basis of not wanting a solar farm in that location.
Dan Serber, Next Grid’s director of land development said he “believes we’ve done everything to do right” by the residents who live on the road.
Becky Zora, one of those residents, said at the meeting that she wanted to make sure the approval process was done honestly and lawfully, and thanked the Planning Board for the nuance in the process.
Throughout the approval process, the Mattapoisett Land Trust was against the proposed construction.
Paul Osenkowski, one of the directors at the land trust, said that the company will be destroying the forest in the area with the solar farms, and that they could expose the surrounding environment to flooding if a hurricane were to hit Mattapoisett.
“This is a real, big mistake if you approve this,” said Osenkowski.
In response, board Chairperson Nathan Ketchel listed the extensive guidelines the site had to meet for approval, many of which were related to Osenkowski’s environmental concerns.
Before the vote, board member Karen Field said that solar energy is a wonderful thing to have in 2020, but thinks that “there’s better areas in the town” for a new solar farm. She still ultimately approved the project.