Proposal of solar overlay district in early 2020
In the town’s zoning by-law, solar installations could happen anywhere in the town as long as the screening and setback restrictions were fulfilled by the solar company. A zoning map was proposed to restrict any future solar overlays to designated land parcels, where these would still require special permits from the Planning Board and Conservation Commission. Projects that were not included in the overlay district would require a two-thirds vote at the Annual Town Meeting.
The goal was to minimize the impact of deforestation and protect the rights of residents and landowners in neighborhoods close to the solar arrays being installed.
After the initial map was introduced, debate started growing after additional parcels were requested to be added by property owners so they may use their land for solar farming. These included several additional parcels close to the Charlesview Estates neighborhood, which raised the alarm for residents there.