Developer Kevin Violette of Holmes Farm Associates is seeking approval from the Waterville Planning Board for a proposed solar farm on land off County Road. Photo courtesy of Bruce White

WATERVILLE — The Planning Board on Monday will consider making recommendations to the City Council about creating a solar farm district in the zoning ordinance and rezoning properties on Webb and County roads so that solar farms may be developed there.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the Mid-Day Cafe at the Mid Maine Technical Center adjacent to Waterville Senior High School.

City Planner Ann Beverage said that board members will wear masks and all others who attend are required to wear masks, per state guidelines. She said 50 people would be allowed to attend, according to those guidelines, but the board never sees that many people there. Anyone presenting at the meeting will be asked to wait outside until they are called in for their agenda item, she said.

The Planning Board may not make zoning changes or create a solar farm district in the zoning ordinance — only the council has that authority. The Planning Board may make recommendations to the council, however.

The board on Monday will consider revisions to the zoning ordinance to allow for establishment of a new solar farm district in which the only permitted use would be solar farms.

Members will consider a request by Kevin Violette of Holmes Farm Associates to rezone part of County Road from Rural Residential to Solar Farm District to allow for the construction of a solar farm. They also will consider a request by Roland Rossignol and NextGrid to rezone part of Webb Road from Rural Residential to Solar Farm District to allow a solar farm to be built there.

The board earlier this month postponed consideration of those projects after
the link the public used to join the meeting failed 21 minutes into the virtual session.

Beverage said the Planning Board decided to support the idea of allowing solar farms in the Airport Industrial and Rural Residential Zones and created performance standards, or criteria, for that activity that includes considerations such as landscaping and setbacks. The City Council adopted the proposal except councilors eliminated solar farms in the Rural Residential Zone, she said.

“We allow solar farms in the Airport Industrial Zone with regulations, but what’s before the Planning Board is creation of a solar farm district,” she said. “If you create a solar farm district, that allows the City Council to decide where they go, on a case-by-case basis.”

In other matters, Kingston Properties LLC will request a final plan review for a total of four residential units at 209 College Ave. at the corner of College Avenue and Allen Street. The property abuts a car wash lot. The board will review the request under the city’s site plan review ordinance, as well as the multifamily developments section of the zoning ordinance.

The board also will consider revisions to an ordinance that would prohibit the parking of commercial vehicles on residential streets. The request follows residents’ complaints about flatbed trucks being parked on High Street.

Neighbors have complained that the flatbed wreckers create a traffic hazard, they obstruct traffic flow, their diesel engines are loud and they come and go at all hours of the night.

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