Monterey to consider solar projects, library and road fixes


MONTEREY -- Large-scale solar projects along with town library and road improvements highlight the issues that voters will consider at Friday’s special town meeting.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Monterey Firehouse on Main Road (Route 23).

The eight-article warrant includes a proposed zoning bylaw that would regulate the size, location, construction and operation of utility-size and other large-scale ground-mounted solar arrays.

If the article is approved, solar photovoltaic projects that fit these parameters would require a special permit from the Planning Board.

Board co-chair Maggie Leonard says the measure was developed, partly because of commercial solar arrays that are being proposed in neighboring towns.

"The goal is to protect property values," she said. "We will have larger setbacks than are required for houses, screening and other requirements."

Leonard noted that the municipal regulation won’t affect individual homeowners installing solar panels for personal use.

In addition, town planners want voters to back another article that concerns the creation of a Solar Photovoltaic Overlay District. The district would provide areas within the town where solar arrays can be placed.

The Monterey Library Board of Trustees is seeking approval to conduct a feasibility study of options to either renovate and expand the current library or to build a new one. In January, the trustees plan to apply for a state grant of up to $50,000 which, if received, would go towards the cost of planning and designing the options to be considered, according to library officials. Any proposed project is subject to a separate town meeting vote.

The trustees say the 82-year-old building on Main Road needs a serious makeover to meet the town’s needs.

"The bathroom is in the basement, instead of the first floor, handicap accessibility is difficult and we need more room to expand -- especially for computer use," said long-time trustee, Ken Basler

The existing library opened in 1931 and contains 9,000 books, magazines, audio books, and videos, along with a collection of annual town reports and other documents pertaining to Monterey’s history.

Voters will also consider measures seeking the approval of three permanent easements necessary to repave and make safer the entire 7-mile stretch of Main Road, Monterey’s main thoroughfare. If the article is approved, the board will be authorized to acquire those parcels 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, according to MassDOT officials.

The last article on the warrant seeks a temporary moratorium on the use of town land and buildings for use as medical marijuana treatment centers. The measure will allow town officials an undetermined amount of time to develop zoning bylaws governing the placement of those facilities within Monterey. So far, none of those facilities have been proposed in Monterey.

To reach Dick Lindsay:,

or (413) 496-6233


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