One solar array OK'd, second solar project review continued


PITTSFIELD — One solar power generating array won a special permit Wednesday from the Zoning Board of Appeals, while a hearing on a second solar project was continued after residents of the area raised a number of questions.

Jon Macht received a permit for a 166-kilowatt array at the rear of a parcel he owns at 885 Holmes Road.

The developer had originally prepared two site plans for the facility, one meeting setback requirements for quasi-public utilities, such as the proposed facility, and the second, meeting residential zoning requirements with shorter setbacks. That second plan, however, would have required a variance from the ZBA, and Macht opted to go with what he called "Plan B," with longer setbacks that met the zoning requirements.

The ZBA had previously begun a hearing in July on a special permit but continued the review until Wednesday, asking Macht to clarify in a revised submission which plan he wanted to pursue.

Macht has said he will use all of the power credits for the electricity at other buildings he owns around the city.

The ZBA also heard from a number of residents of the Churchill Street-Pecks Road area near a 2.25-megawatt solar facility proposed on five large lots off Churchill Street near the Lanesborough line.

As at a prior Community Development Board site plan review, neighbors raised questions about proposal for natural and berm screening of the solar panels, the introduction of a commercial facility in a residential area and what they termed negative effects on the character of the scenic rural area.

Chairman Albert Ingegni and other board members said they had received new information and heard a number of questions raised, and they voted to continue the permit review to Sept. 14. A site visit also will be scheduled prior to the next meeting, Ingegni said.

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


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