Another solar array proposed in Orange

ORANGE — Just two months after the Planning Board approved installation of a solar array at 180 West Orange Road, another solar company is throwing its hat in the ring.

NB Development LLC — represented by Fred Heyes during a Tuesday meeting of the Planning Board — submitted an application for a special permit on Dec. 28 that would involve using two adjacent parcels at 110 and 110A West Orange Road for solar power. According to Orange Community Development Administrator Adrienne Menges, the two lots account for a total of 77 acres.

The Planning Board set a date of Feb. 20, at 6:45 p.m., in Town Hall for the public hearing, where residents will be able to raise concerns or ask questions before the board votes on whether to approve the application. Heyes volunteered to submit an additional 25 pieces of information to the Planning Board by Jan. 24 that are not required of him, but that he suspects will be asked during the public hearing.

In late October, the board voted unanimously to allow West Orange Solar LLC to install a ground-mounted solar array at 180 West Orange Road, about a half-mile from Heyes’ property. The board, however, did lay down seven conditions. West Orange Solar LLC must keep vegetative grass coverage on 75 to 80 percent of the property after construction is completed, including a 100-foot well setback consistent with Board of Health regulations, and not use blasting, herbicides, pesticides or growth regulators.

The sudden talk of so many solar arrays did leave at least one resident feeling concerned during Tuesday’s meeting. Rice Flauders, an Orange resident for more than 50 years who lives on West Orange Road, said that though she’s “a huge supporter of alternative energy sources,” she feels concerned as an environmentalist. She considers the area to be historic, beautiful and abounding with wildlife.

“To have them all so close together in one little rural community gives me a lot of concern,” Flauders said of the solar arrays, adding that she feels the town needs “to be very measured in our approach” to any construction, not just solar.

Orange currently doesn’t have zoning regulations specifically governing solar arrays, Menges said, although the bylaw does have two provisions to “promote the use of solar designs in the structure of any building,” stating that new development should be designed so the maximum number of buildings receive direct sunlight and that glare restrictions don’t apply to solar energy systems unless it creates a safety hazard or creates a direct reflection onto a building.

Author: Going Green

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