MONTEREY -- Residents approved new regulations on large-scale solar projects and paved the way for library renovations during Friday's special town meeting.

However, a request for a 17-month moratorium to allow the Monterey Planning Board time to explore and develop a zoning bylaw to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries was blocked by voters.

Twenty-three of the town's 584 full-time residents, or 3.9 percent, came to the Monterey Firehouse before Friday's snowstorm reached Berkshire County to vote on the eight-article warrant.

Residents were largely in agreement during the 90-minute meeting, although there was some fine-tuning of language and an amendment to strike a maximum 15-foot height requirement for large-scale ground mounted solar photovoltaic installations.

Residents voted to pass a new bylaw section regulating large solar projects after concerns were raised because neighboring towns are exploring commercial solar arrays. The bylaw will regulate structures mounted on the ground with the capacity to generate more than 30 kilowatts or located on more than an eighth of an acre of land. The bylaw outlines the process for approval, standards for dimensions, design and performance, maintenance and details other requirements.

A Solar Photovoltaic Overlay district was also approved regulating where solar arrays can be placed.

Meanwhile, the Monterey Library Board of Trustees got the green light to conduct a feasibility study of options to renovate and expand the 82-year-old library. In January, the trustees plan to apply for a state grant of up to $50,000 which, if granted, would go toward the cost of planning and designing options to be considered.

The amendment does not request towns funds, it only allows for efforts to expand grant funding.

Voters rejected a request from the Planning Board for a 17-month moratorium until the 2015 town meeting to explore and develop regulations on a medical marijuana dispensary. Residents objected because they described it as unnecessary obstruction to a business.

Voters also approved the town's request to acquire three permanent easements necessary to re-pave and improve safety along the entire 7-mile stretch of Main Road, the town's main thoroughfare. The parcels would be acquired by donation, outright purchase or eminent domain.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation expects to put the nearly $4 million state-funded project out to bid in February. The road work is scheduled to begin in late May.

To reach John Sakata:
jsakata@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6240.
On Twitter: @jsakata