A second solar project proposed for Churchill Street site


PITTSFIELD — A solar power generating array is proposed on five large lots off Churchill Street just south of the Lanesborough line.

Phillip Massary and Central Berkshire Land Development, LLC, owns four of the lots, and a fifth is owned by Michael Bianco Landscaping, according to information submitted with the proposal to the city Community Development Office.

The lots are part of a 40-acre parcel east of Churchill Street that once was considered for as part of a multi-lot subdivision.

The landowners said in the application that they have an agreement with Heliovaas of Springfield to erect a solar array to produce electric power, to be fed into the Eversource power grid.

The plan calls for solar panel arrays on the five lots, each with a capacity to produce 449 kilowatts of power — or about 2.25 megawatts in total.

The facility would be considered a quasi-public utility under city zoning. An 8-foot fence is proposed around the ground-mounted solar panels.

Springfield-based Heliovaas (www.heliovaas.com) is a renewable energy project developer with projects in several states.

City Conservation Agent Robert Van Der Kar said Thursday that the developers are seeking commission input as they attempt to delineate the water resource areas on the property. The commission has set a site visit for July 29 at 3 p.m., he said, adding that the meeting is open to the public.

The project also will require a site plan review from the Community Development Board and a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The land is the site of a proposed 39-lot subdivision that was rejected by the Community Development Board in December 2006, after a group of residents and the Berkshire Environmental Action Team opposed the plan, voicing concerns about the environmental impacts, especially on the aquifer beneath the site.

After the Community Development Board rejected that plan, Central Berkshire Land Development returned with a revised plan that won board approval in January 2007. It created eight large home lots, each with sufficient frontage along Churchill Street so that subdivision approvals were not required.

Another solar facility is planned for a 61-acre parcel off Churchill Street south of the Dan Casey causway over Onota Lake. That plan has received a special permit from the ZBA, but a group of area residents is challenging the permit in Massachusetts Land Court.

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.


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