By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Planning Board continued a hearing for a special permit to allow a new gas station and convenience store on the corner of Bridge Street and Route 240 at its meeting on 5/23. PB member Nicholas Carrigg recused himself from the discussion and left the room as the petitioner is his father’s company, CarriCorp Industries.
The board did not take any public comment or hear the presentation from the petitioners because too many board members were not present. A special permit requires five positive votes. Of the eight members, three were absent, and Mr. Carrigg had to recuse himself. Chairperson Wayne Hayward, Vice Chairperson Rene Fleurent, and Clerk Peter Nopper were all out. Board member Jeff Lucas chaired the meeting.
The board had the option of hearing the petition, but then the three missing members would have to be subject to the Mullin Rule to be able to vote. They would have to study the records and state in writing that they were up to date on the matter.
CarriCorp opted to have the hearing continued to a meeting when more members were present.
The same rule applied to a special permit for Clean Energy, which petitioned to put a 2 megawatt solar farm at 279 Mill Road at the DeTerra Farm. Clean Energy, however, opted to have the public hearing take place. When it is time for the vote, at a future meeting, the missing members will be subject to the Mullin Rule if they want to vote, or the board could go with the five sitting members who heard the petition.
Clean Energy is seeking to lease 9.4 acres of the DeTerra farm for a solar array. Petitioners told the board that the project is a community solar project, which means that local residents will be able to buy the power at a discount.
There will be two arrays, with access off Mill Road. The company plans to use the roads that are already on the property, but will improve them. Some of the project will affect wetlands, and the company will work with the Conservation Commission to replicate an area and to minimize impact to the wetlands.
One issue is that the plans call for most of the lines to be on poles and not underground because of the wetlands. The bylaw states that cables “shall be underground,” except where not feasible.
Town Planner and Economic Development Director Bill Roth had a number of other issues with the plan, but said most of them were workable, including the landscaping plan. He recommended continuing the hearing so those issues could be addressed.
The board’s biggest hurdle seemed to be that the bylaw specifically states that a parcel must be at least 10 acres to be approved for a special permit for a solar array. The applicants argued that the lease area is on a 50+ acre property.
“I read 10 acres,” said Mr. Lucas. “You should control 10 acres.”
One lease area is approximately 6.8 acres, and the other is about 2.6. The arrays will not be visible from Mill Road due to the sloping of the land and some trees.
The hearing was continued to 6/27.
Click here to download the entire 6/1/17 issue: 06-01-17 MemDay