Cheshire Planning Board
Monday, July 23, 2018 7PM
Cheshire Community Center
Present: Donna M. DeFino, Ronald W. DeAngelis, Sandra Sloane, Nick Graham, Francis M. Griswold and Peter H. Traub
At 7PM Donna opened the July 2018 Cheshire Planning Board month meeting by stating that the J. Zieminiski Continuation Hearing has been scheduled on the August 2018 Agenda for 7:00PM.
Nick made a motion to accept the June 25, 2018 meeting minutes as well as the July 9, 2018 Hearing meeting; seconded by Ron. A unanimous vote was taken.
Donna asked Fran to recuse himself and Sandra Sloane, Alternate Member, took his place. Donna reported that Hill Engineering was in the process of reviewing the solar array farm plans submitted to them on behalf of the Ayotte for a technical overview. Nick motioned to continue the Ayotte Continuation Hearing for August 27, 2018; seconded by Ron. A unanimous vote was taken.
Donna reported that the Scholz solar array farm project was being reviewed by Hill Engineering. Peter and Fran recused themselves.
Alex Fox (SWCA) and Tony Somers (SWCA) Landscape Architect/Planner offered an update on the status of the Scholz solar array farm project.
- Confirmation of the maximum height of solar panels;
Answer: “The maximum height of the solar panels will be a maximum of 11 feet from the ground, but potentially as low as 8 feet from the ground. The exact height will depend on the specific racking system selected”.
- Update on the interconnection status/agreement;
Answer: “We have received the results of our Impact Study including the price of the upgrades to the utility system. The utility has 15 business days from the issuance of the Impact Study to provide an Interconnection Service Agreement (ISA). Today 07/02/2018 is the 15th day, so the ISA should be forthcoming.”
Note: Exhibit G – Interconnection Service Agreement was submitted to the CPB dated July 11, 2018 between Massachusetts Electric Company (doing business as National Grid) on this night.
Confirmation of compliance with 20% coverage limit for project was shown on a spreadsheet.
Alex Fox and Tony Somers: continued
- Wiring diagram attached.
- The project is being reviewed Hill Engineering.
- Submitted summary of site contamination history.
- Examples of solar project in MA that has similar residential abutters were submitted.
- Reviewed potential impacts of tree clearing in the southeast corner of the project.
- A glare study from four (4) location (Driscoll, Jayco, Lincoln, Lennon parcels); disputed by landowners.
- Assessment of tree species proposed for screening for both height and species.
Answer: The trees considered are deer tolerant/resistant.
Audience: Question and Answer Period.
Alex Fox: Offered the information that three (3) rows were pulled away from Wells Road. The panels taken away from that area will be placed at the other of this segment of panels. Changes most likely will result in the company having to have a new survey completed.
Residents questions when the glare observation/testing took place as: 1. One of the addresses, 325 East Harbor Road, does not exist. 2. Resident of 1429 Wells Road is very concerned about the potential of glare. Donna noted that the new plans will have anti-glare materials but felt it still does not negate the glare issue. Testing results regarding airplane glare, she felt was not
relevant to land glare. The four (4) resident’s presents confirmed that they had no one visit their site for observation.
- Noted that during the course of a day, at least 200 cars use Wells Road and at least 50 school buses. Glare is an issue.
The Cheshire Planning Board members scheduled a site visit at the Jayko Farm and the Lincoln Property for Saturday, July 28, 2018 at 10:00am starting at the Jayko farm.
- Photographs were shown of the Lennon property. The CPB questioned if testing took place from a deck or from the ground. Various scenarios were discussed regarding the addition of a berm. Alex felt until a new survey was complete he could not make a decision. The new survey should take place in a week or two (2).
- It was noted that from the ground level you won’t see the panels, but from the deck you will.
- Donna voiced concern about the deck obstruction and the trees being cut.
Donna voiced the concerns of the Cheshire Conservation Commission and the required size of the road. An 18 foot road is required for emergency vehicles. It was also noted that the company has not reached out to the police department or fire department.
Donna is concerned about the fluidity of the plans and the changes being made. “It is constantly evolving, nothing is finite”.
- Reported that they will be taking care of the recommendations offered by the Cheshire Conservation Commission. First being the entrance and utility road will be eighteen feet. He said, the narrative of 14 feet was incorrect to begin with. In reality it is an eighteen foot road. Storm water management – wouldn’t change the footprint”. They are anxiously awaiting the report from Hill Engineering and their report could expedite and streamline for going forward.
- Sandra had no issues with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the “Responses to CPB”.
- However, in regard to property values she noted one of the examples was listed were Hampshire College – West Bay Road, Amherst, MA. Although SWCA reported it to be similar to the Cheshire project, it is not a residential area and not relevant to the concern of values going down. There were listings for North and South Carolina. Sandra questioned why? A letter submitted from the Cape Cod area also was felt not to be pertinent to the question.
- Questioned if 480 trees were planned to be planted outside the parameter
- She felt the species selected were excellent. (Juniperus virginiana, Elegantissima, and Atrovirens).
- How far out does the glare have an effect?
- The reporting submitted was irrelevant as the addresses were not correct.
The site visit by CPB members should assist in the discovery and documentation of possible glare dangers to humans and animals.
- Asked permission to read a letter into the minutes. Donna requested that he wait until the August 2018 meeting to do so.
- Questioned why the narrative stated a 14 foot road and the plans showed an 18 foot road.
- Three (3) poles will be thirty feet on center.
- They will be taking down the barn and leaving the structures.
- Asked if the surveyor could spray paint trees that will be cut or topped twenty feet. (The company would have to check with the surveyor).
- Ms. Lennon expressed the possible effect on the land/buildings/wells from the vibration damage. What could happen seven (7) to eight (8) feet down?
- What happens if wells go bad?
- “The company would pay to have them fixed.”
- He repeated clearly. Should a problem happen to wells in the area, the company would pay to fix and repair. This would also include foundations from vibration.
- Wanted to discuss the issue of glare and screening. He wondered if placing eight (8) foot plywood in the field would give a better visual. The CPB agreed and would be considering an option by the time of the meeting.
- Concerned about the trees, he questioned what happens if they die? Tony reviewed the types of trees and their hardiness for the area. Should trees die, replacement would take place. The species are deer resistant and drought tolerant. Mr. Chalmers questioned what was the spacing between the trees? Tony said it would be four (4) to six (6) feet on center and staggered. They would be three (3) to four (4) foot wide trees.
- Questioned what happens three (3) to six (6) years down the road? “Do you replace them?”
- Alex said he will check with the company and get back to the board with an answer.
- Requested that all emails have CC to Donna Defino, Cheshire Planning Board Chairman.
- Questioned if the company was purchasing or leasing the Scholz property. Alex believes at this time it will be leased.
Taking the barn down is a potential problem. There is farm equipment, oil, toxics leaking into the fields. Tony said the Department of Environment Protection is aware of the project and are aware of contamination in the past and believes an assessment has been done. He will confirm with the DEP that they are aware of the situation.
There will be 17,800 panels installed.
- Usually there are two (2) scheduled visits. The grass will be cut two times a year. A solar meadow mix is used and is not highly disruptive. Neighbors might see one (1) or two (2) vans and a pickup truck at most. Mowing should take two days.
- Stated that he was never asked that question about how long it takes to mow. He will have to research and return with an answer.
- Believes it will be more than two times a year.
- Would like relevant property value reports.
Nick motioned to continue the Scholz meeting until August 27, 2018; seconded by Ron. A unanimous vote was taken.
The next monthly meeting will take place on Monday, August 27, 2018 at 7pm/Community Center.
With no further questions, Donna asked for a motion to adjourn. Nick motioned to adjourn and Ron seconded. A unanimous vote was taken at 8:50pm.
Carole A. Hilderbrand, Recording Secretary
Donna DeFino, Chairman
Sandra Sloane, Alternate Member