MONMOUTH — Just two days after the proposed Longroad Development Co. solar project on Ridge Road survived a vote on a proposed moratorium that would have stopped it, the 55-acre project got Planning Board approval.

Planning Board chairperson Steve O’Donnell said Monday that the project got approval on March 11, and no members of the public spoke in opposition to the project.

The Boston-based renewable energy development firm will place about 36 acres of solar equipment, including 8-foot-high panels, on 55 acres of leased land at 483 Ridge Road. The project aims to produce 4.95 megawatts of power exclusively for Bath Iron Works.

According to a draft Conditions of Approval document, Longroad must submit proof of state Department of Environmental Protection approval, and a letter to the town’s fire chief that states there are no fire safety issues related to the project; secure a building permit from the town’s code enforcement officer; provide a performance bond in the amount of $925,000 and name the town as the beneficiary; follow best practices for the maintenance of a pond during construction; and ensure that any damaged or inoperable arrays are removed from the site and disposed of properly.

Longroad must also notify the town within 30 days of any transfer of ownership.

O’Donnell said he was still working on the board’s final decision, and those conditions are subject to change.

David Kane, director of development at Longroad, said the Planning Board approval and the moratorium’s defeat were two “two critical development milestones” and Longroad looks forward “to putting Mainers to work with the start of construction in early summer.”

Kane said on March 7 that Longroad was leasing the land, but the price was not made public. Kane said the industry standard ranges from $700 to $1,500 per acre per year.

On March 9, town residents voted 578-350 to defeat the moratorium article. If approved, the proposed moratorium would have halted all construction or operation of commercial solar energy facilities and any town action dealing with applications for licenses. It would have been retroactive to Nov. 18, when ordinance changes passed through the Town Meeting, which added language for commercial solar projects, went into effect.

The project’s website touts $5 million taxable value for Monmouth, but the project would qualify for a state exemption that would allow the company to not pay property taxes, with the state reimbursing the town for half the taxes that would have been paid.


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