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Solar facilities would need special exception

by Tom Chillemi

Consideration of proposed amendments to the Middlesex County ordinance regarding solar facility setbacks from roads was tabled by the Middlesex Board of Supervisors (BOS) on July 2.

In a different amendment, the BOS has initiated another zoning ordinance amendment that would require all future solar facilities be re-classified as “special exception uses.”

Currently, solar facilities are “permitted uses” in some zoning districts. If approved the proposed amendment would require a special exception from the BOS for all future solar facilities in any district.

The Middlesex Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday, July 11, at 7 p.m. in the Historic Middlesex Courthouse Boardroom on the special exception proposal.

The matter that was tabled by the BOS is in regard to a proposed zoning ordinance amendment request initiated by Brian M. Major of Locust Hill. It would involve areas zoned Village Community and General Business. He is requesting a waiver from the 1,000-foot setback from roads to a 250-foot setback, with a 50-foot buffer.

Under the proposed amendment, setbacks may be reduced to 250 feet, with a 50-foot buffer for landscaping; a 500-foot setback with a 40-foot landscaping buffer; or a 750-foot setback with a 30-foot buffer.

The Middlesex Economic Development Authority (EDA) has recommended the BOS not reduce solar facility setbacks from roads where business development is allowed and could occur, said EDA chair Gordon White during the BOS public hearing on July 2. 

posted 07.11.2019

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