Solar, subdivision, marijuana cultivation hearings rescheduled

  • The Board of Planning and Community Development during its meeting Wednesday discussed its site plan review with representatives from Sunpin Solar, LLC, developers of the proposed solar array off Conant Road.Left to right: Director of Planning and Community Development Eric Smith, Board members Kathy Norton and Duane Truehart, Sarah Schouler, recording secretary, David Small, chairman. Also attending but not pictured: board member Richard Hayden, Rich Niles from Wood PLC and Samuel Dionne of Sunpin Solar. —Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

Staff Writer
Published: 6/9/2019 9:50:17 PM

ATHOL – The Board of Planning and Community Development met last Wednesday with representatives from Sunpin Solar Development, LLC to review the Board’s major site plan findings and decision with specific conditions regarding the proposed ground-mounted solar photovoltaic installation off Conant Road.

Rich Niles of engineering firm Wood PLC and Samuel Dionne of Sunpin Solar accepted the conditions to produce a truck traffic management plan for tree removal and construction, and to notify abutters to allow for public input and review of the plan.

Another condition is to modify the landscaping plan, requiring additional input from the Board prior to issuance of a building permit. Rhododendrons and mountain laurel are to be planted on the sides of the solar array access driveway near the entrance off Conant Road, and tree and shrub plantings added in the existing open area located off the existing logging road.

Board chair David Small said he was concerned about the entry road and would like to see it graded with shrubbery to give it an attractive entrance. “We don’t want to give it an industrial setting,” he said. Regarding the access road, Small said he wanted to make sure the power poles are spread out to look more like a regular street than a substation. The exact placement of trees and shrubs will be determined at a site visit during and or after the solar panels are installed.

The review also calls for decommissioning of the existing logging road with no further access of the property upon construction of the solar array field and associated development.

The addition of stormwater basins, emergency overflow provisions and typical construction details must be in accordance with a peer review done by engineering firm Tighe & Bond. The developers must also prepare on-site testpits within each stormwater management basin to confirm soil type and groundwater elevation prior to construction.

The applicants will schedule a time with the BPCD to present their updated plan.

Three public hearings were rescheduled due to lack of a super committee quorum requiring five. Two members recused themselves as abutters. The board also has one vacancy and is in search of a new member.

On June 12 at 7:15 p.m., a public hearing will be held in room 21 at the Town Hall for applications for an Open Space Residential Design Special Permit, a Flag Lot Special Permit, and a Definitive Subdivision Plan for Peter K. Lyman for proposed creation of 14 residential building lots on property located off of Jeanne Drive and Petersham Road, continued from June 5.

At 7:45 p.m., a public hearing will be held for a Licensed Marijuana Establishment Special permit application for The Botanist, Inc., for marijuana cultivation and processing for property located at 706 Petersham Rd, continued from June 5.

A request by Craig D. Piper of SMRT Architects and Engineers representing Athol Hospital, LLC for a minor modification from the Athol Hospital Site Plan Approval to address ambulance bay issues.

On June 19 at 7:30 p.m., room 21 of the Town Hall, a public hearing will be held for a Licensed Marijuana Establishment Special Permit application for Greenleaf Analytics, LLC, DBA CERES Labs for an independent marijuana testing lab for property located at 134 Chestnut Hill Ave.

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