Meeting this evening

UPDATED AGENDA: Rockport to consider solar farm rules; two applications received for separate Route 17 ventures

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 8:00am

    ROCKPORT — This evening, May 11, the Rockport Select Board will discuss solar land use regulations, and possibly involve the town’s Ordinance Review Committee to take on the task of crafting guidelines. Since last March, the town has received two applications to site solar farms on separate parcels off of Route 17, prompting the town’s Planning Board Chairman Joe Sternowski to write to two Select Board members April 29.

    The Select Board meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and includes a vote of whether to approve a collective bargaining agreement with the Teamsters Local No. 340 for the Public Works Department. The agreement stipulates a 3 percent wage increase for this fiscal year.

    (See attached board packet for details)

    The board also said later in the morning May 11 that it would add the following agenda item: Discuss use of RES Site by Camden International Film Festival (CIFF)

    “In November, 2019, we had our first application for a Solar Farm come before the Planning Board along Route 17,” he wrote. “In March, we have received our second application for an additional Solar Farm, also along Rt. 17. The size and timing of these projects is cause for some concern, only because our community has not considered the impact in our land use ordinances. Each of these projects are 16 acres in scale, lie along Route 17, and produce 2.1 megawatts of energy. Will there be more projects coming? Could they also be located along Route 17?

    “Are we as a community ‘OK’ with the grassy fields along our gateway roads being lined with solar fields? I do not want the Select Board or the community to be blind-sided.

    “I raise this as a concern not because I am in favor or against these projects, but rather the lack of direction that is available in our local ordinances regarding these projects. They are silent. These large projects will have an impact on the development in our community for at least 30 years, the useful life of the project.”

    He continued in his letter:

    “My questions to the Select Board are:

    “Should Rockport be considering specific regulation of solar farm projects in our Land Use Ordinance?

    “Should the Planning Board move forward and approve the two projects coming before us in the absence of ordinance coverage?

    “Is the Rockport community comfortable with a concentration of solar farm projects along Route 17?

    “Should we be requiring a bond be posted for de-construction of these projects at the end of their useful life? Not sure if this is covered in the State legislation.

    “The final site plan for the first solar project is in front of the Planning Board for final approval on May 17, 2020.”

    Public Input on Non-agenda Items
    Public comment should be directed at issues not under discussion on this evening’s agenda. Comment from the public will be welcome prior to each agenda item. Further comment will be granted only by permission from the Board. All public comment should be brief and to the point.
    Amendments to the Agenda
    Consent Agenda
    Committee Resignation(s) Lou Laquaglia – Planning Board
    Meeting Minutes
    March 23, 2020 Regular Meeting
    April 22, 2020 Regular Meeting
    Action Items
    1. Act on Appointment of Election Clerks
    2. Act on Collective Bargaining Agreement Between Town and Teamsters Local No. 340 for the Public Works Department
    3. Act on Appointment of Victoria Condon to Planning Board as Regular Member
    4. Act on Amendments to the Reserve Accounts Policy
    5. Act on Approval of Repair to Pilings at Commercial Floats
    1. Discussion Items
      1. Discuss/Refer Solar Land Use Regulations to Ordinance Review Committee
      2. Discuss Municipal Operations during Pandemic
      3. Discuss/Review Potential Budget Impacts of Pandemic

    1 Select Board Agenda May 11, 2020

    I. Call Meeting to Order

    1. Walker Park Plaque Dedication
    2. Town Manager’s Report/Update

    IX. Announce Future Meetings, Office Closures, Etc.

    1. May 25, 2020 – Town Offices Closed for Memorial Day
    2. May 26, 2020 – Regular Select Board Meeting
    3. June 8, 2020 – Regular Select Board Meeting
    1. Select Board Liaison Reports
    2. Adjournment