Randolph voters will be asked Monday to approve a change to the town’s Land Use Ordinance to allow for the development of solar array.

Specifically, residents will be asked to approve a zoning change for a parcel of land located east of Water Street and north of Belmont Street from urban residential to commercial development. The change would allow the development, anticipated to generate 5 megawatts of electricity, to move forward.

At a Planning Board public hearing March 5, project representatives from Borrego Systems said their plan for the multi-million dollar project calls for clearing the land of trees to install solar panels with 339,000 square feet of photovoltaic panel surface on a 25-acre parcel of land secured by a 20-year lease with Riverside Disposal.

The panels would be enclosed by a 7-foot fence and the property would be screened by trees. No buildings are anticipated, and the project is expected to generate no noise.

Project officials said they identified a site in Randolph because it’s not far from a Central Maine Power Co. substation on Bowman Street in Farmingdale, which has capacity to handle the additional generation. The power is expected to be transmitted via underground conduit to poles near Water Street, and from there to the substation in Farmingdale.

A call to Borrego Systems on Thursday was not immediately returned.

If voters approve the zone change and the project goes forward, it’s expected to expand Randolph’s tax base.

Mark Roberts, chairman of the Randolph Board of Selectmen, said town officials have spoken with William VanTuinen, Randolph’s tax assessor, about how the project would be valued and what other towns with solar arrays are doing.

Borrego Systems also has projects in Augusta, Winthrop and Fairfield.

Company officials had hoped to obtain permits to start work in April, but by the end of March, much of the state had been shut down over fears of spreading coronavirus, the highly-contagious viral disease that causes COVID-19.

Starting June 1, restrictions on public gatherings in Maine have been relaxed, allowing up to 50 people to attend events.

Peter Coughlan, chairman of the Planning Board, said a public hearing on the proposed change will take place at 6 p.m. at the Randolph Town Office on Kinderhook Street. The special Town Meeting will follow at 6:45 p.m.


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