The Project Development Process
Step 1: The first stage of projects like this is for the Developer (in this case Cowls and AMP) to submit ANRADS (Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation) to determine wetland boundaries on a parcel of land. As of December, 2021, four of the proposed sites have had ANRADS submitted and accepted as accurate by the Town’s conservation commission. ANRADs have not yet been submitted for the Carver Road and Montague Road sites.
The Massachusetts Zoning Enabling Act, (Chapter 40A, Section 3, paragraph 9) contains a provision that solar developers are using to intimidate municipalities into approving large solar projects. This section of the law from the 1990s was never intended to apply to the large industrial scale generating stations or battery storage facilities that are being forced on communities. Section 3 states: “No zoning ordinance or by-law shall prohibit or unreasonably regulate the installation of solar energy systems or the building of structures that facilitate the collection of solar energy, except where necessary to protect the public health, safety or welfare.”
The Department of Energy Resources itself states that "Where a solar facility is sited, as well as placement on the site once selected, is an important consideration, particularly in regard to large-scale ground mounted facilities. [The Department of Energy Resources] DOER strongly discourages locations that result in significant loss of land and natural resources, including farm and forest land, and encourages rooftop siting, as well as locations in industrial and commercial districts, or on vacant, disturbed land. Significant tree cutting is problematic because of the important water management, cooling, and climate benefits trees provide]"
For a deeper dive into legal issues surrounding this issue, please see this page from the Save the Pine Barrens web site, an organization that is fighting for the rights of Southeastern MA communities who have already experienced devastating effects of industrial solar installations..
About Community-Driven Solar
Climate Change/Environmental Concerns