The debate continues after Annual Town Meeting
After the zoning committee regrouped following the 2020 Annual Town meeting, the topic of solar district continued to remain an area of focus, especially coming from public voices. The committee debated over the approach to the solution after much research, including a white paper developed by Tufts for the town of Athol, where the research report states:
“these concerns are especially important in Athol because current zoning bylaws do not account for viewshed considerations, and tourism is significant to the region’s economy.”
The opinions of the committee after debate were split between 2 approaches:
- Continue the effort started in 2020 to develop an overlay district considering criteria such as lot sizes of minimum and maximum, % of previously disturbed lots and focusing on designated industrial areas around South St as well as Harvey and Interchange highways which are away from residential areas.
- Focus on the sightlines and screening criteria alone, as it’s more likely to meet public health, safety and welfare criteria.