Developer for proposed solar project in New Marlborough wants public's input on project
NEW MARLBOROUGH — Residents on Wednesday will have their first chance to hear about the proposed installation of two solar farms in the community.
Local solar power developer Kirt Mayland, president of Reservoir Road Holdings LLC, is proposing to install two photovoltaic solar farms at former gravel pits on Mill River-Southfield Road.
Before any formal planning steps are taken, however, Mayland said he wants to get input from the town on his ideas and tweak the plan where necessary. He has not yet submitted any plans to the town or filed for permits for the proposed project, he told The Eagle on Tuesday.
Mayland will pitch his solar power farms and use feedback from town officials to tweak his plan. The event begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Planning Board at Town Hall.
"It's a very informal briefing," Mayland said. "We've never been there before and we don't want the first look people have at us to be a pile of material. No, we want to say: 'Here's who we are; ask us questions.' "
He was on the agenda to speak Saturday at a Conservation Commission meeting, but the meeting was canceled due to inclement weather. Mayland said he plans to reschedule and give a presentation to the commission in the near future.
Mayland said he has not yet settled on how large the solar farms will be — the company is waiting on the results of the solar plants potential impact study by National Grid, which will give developers an idea of how much power the electric company can accommodate, as well as information on metering, billing and other factors. He expects to review the impact study in early February.
Still, Mayland said he estimates one solar farm could be about 4 to 5 acres, while the other could cover about 7 to 8 acres.
"Essentially, they're played out gravel pits," Mayland said, describing the proposed solar farm sites. "They're hidden from the public view and I don't believe any abutters will be able to see them, so we're pretty excited about this."
Mayland, of Connecticut, has built other solar power farms in Berkshire County., including in Clarksburg, Cheshire and Great Barrington, where the facility was built on a former landfill.
"Assuming we don't get lots of snow [Wednesday], we'll be there," Mayland said. "Once we get feedback from [the Planning Board and Conservation Commission], we'll put together our final packet and submit it formally and go through the proper public hearing with abutter notices."
Kristin Palpini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and @kristinpalpini on Twitter.
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