P&Z approves solar array with conditions

SHARON — In the wake of a town-wide referendum Friday, Jan. 5, when voters registered their support for plans to install a solar array on town-owned property adjacent to Sharon Center School, the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z), at its regular meeting Wednesday, Jan. 10, voted unanimous approval for the site plan application submitted by Verogy and the CT Green Bank organization.

The solar array installation will stand on one-third of an acre and consist of 456 solar panels, encircled by an existing educational nature trail that had been intended to serve as a pollinator haven but has subsequently suffered from neglect and incursion by invasive plants.

Responsive to residents’ concerns about the project at 64 Hilltop Road, the P&Z discussed and approved four conditions to be attached to the approval, some conditions that must be met in advance of the start of construction.

Leading the discussion was land use administrator Jamie Casey, who had identified the four areas to be resolved by the P&Z.

Under the conditions of the approval, CT Green Bank and Verogy must submit a screening plan to the P&Z for its approval before construction begins, and the Town of Sharon will assume responsibility for maintenance of the nature trail that surrounds the solar panel footprint. In addition, a storm water management and maintenance plan must be submitted to the P&Z for approval before construction begins, and Verogy will be responsible for removal of the panels when they become obsolete or unusable.

Each of the four points was discussed in detail. To the hypothetical circumstance where Verogy might be no longer operating as a business, leading to the question of who would remove the panels, it was determined that in that event, the town would assume responsibility for the future of the panels or for their removal.

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