Rochester Planning Board seeks feedback on two new solar projects

Jul 14, 2020

ROCHESTER — When the Planning Board opened discussion of two solar arrays on July 14, abutters mainly looked to preserve the area’s trails — if they commented at all

Eric Las of architecture and engineering firm Beals and Thomas introduced a 6 MW array on the property of Bradford and Ruth Correia.

He said the overall site is 43 acres, though the project would only disturb about 24 acres.

Las said his firm, which also is woking on another array on Featherbed Lane and planned the newly-approved Braley Hill solar project, has reflected on the feedback it got in planning those arrays and applied it to upcoming projects.

This may be why he got only a small technical question from a board member.

Las also introduced a smaller 4.8 MW array at 0 Snipatuit Road.

This array would be set back over 2,000 feet form the access road, and over 1,000 feet from abutters. It is also split into two parcels of just under 1 MW and just under 4 MW.

These two parcels are separated by about 200 feet, and at 24 acres the total work area is similar in size to the project on Featherbed Lane.

Board member Gary Florindo asked if engineers planned to clear trees along an existing access road to allow construction vehicles.

An abutter spoke up in response, pointing out that there was a forest fire in the area in 2013 that drew fire trucks down the road and proved it usable.

Abutter John Hall brought up a trail in the area that is used for riding and walking, and said he would like to see it preserved.

“We don’t have any tree clearing proposed near that existing trail. We will maintain as it stands,” Las said, showing where it was marked on the plans.