SKOWHEGAN — A solar project was among the list of items approved by town voters Tuesday at a special town meeting.

About 20 people attended the 7 p.m. meeting at the Municipal Building, which adjourned after about 10 minutes.

The meeting is now in recess and will conclude next Tuesday with an election to fill the vacancy on the Board of Selectmen. Residents will also decide whether to pass the Maine School Administrative District 54 referendum question calling for up to $6.97 million for school construction and improvement projects.

The eight-article meeting warrant on Tuesday included regular business items as well as amendments to the town’s Planning Board ordinance, a Utility Scale Solar Energy Facility ordinance, whether to accept a sewer easement and whether to enter into a ground-lease agreement to place a solar field at a closed landfill.

The amended Planning Board Ordinance reflects the addition of two alternate members alongside a board of seven members. The terms for alternates are for five years, which match those of regular members. These alternates may attend meetings and participate in meetings but can only vote when they have been designated to sit in for a member.

Alternates on the Planning Board serve when a member is unable to attend a meeting or cannot act on an item because of a conflict of interest. The chairperson then designates an alternate as a voting member for that portion of the meeting.

Under the newly adopted Utility Scale Solar Energy Facility Ordinance, language and standards for utility-scale solar facilities have been created. This includes “any solar facility, project or installation which is intended to/or in fact, does generate solar power” and feeds power into the electric grid. Facilities occupying 800 square feet or less are exempt from the ordinance, though they still must meet state electrical codes for permitting requirements.

This ordinance would serve as an additional level of review, along with the Site Plan Review Ordinance. A list of application requirements is detailed in the proposed solar ordinance, found on the town’s website, www.skowhegan.org.

The Ground Lease Agreement is for the BD Solar project which will be built atop the closed landfill at 29 Transfer Station Drive. The project was proposed by Dirigo Solar of Portland. The group anticipates a two-megawatt solar farm on about 10 acres, a $3 million investment that is expected to provide additional income for the town such as revenue from the property lease and property taxes.

The project, when complete, will tap into an existing distribution network on Steward Hill Road and feed into the Skowhegan North Side Substation, allowing nearby homeowners and businesses to buy power directly.

Voters on Tuesday also gave the OK for selectmen to apply for federal financing assistance under the Land Water Conservation Fund Act for the Skowhegan Community Center. If the grant application is then approved, the $330,000 in funding would allow for upgrades to the Community Center Ballfield Compound.

Upgrades include construction of a new concessions stand, with bathrooms and storage, at the football field complex, new dugouts at the Carl Wright Baseball Complex and parking lot expansion.

Also approved Tuesday were articles to allow officials to accept the gift of a sewer line which extends from the sewer connection at the First Church of the Nazarene on the east side of East Madison Road to the East Madison Road right-of-way to the town’s sewer main on the west side of Route 201 on Madison Avenue. Additionally, a sewer easement was accepted from the First Church of the Nazarene to allow access to a section of sewer line under land that belongs to the church.

The final portion of the special town meeting is scheduled for Aug. 31, with an election to fill a vacancy on the Board of Selectmen. Derek Chretien and Steve Govoni are running for the empty seat for a term that expires in June 2022.

Chretien, 50, serves on the Skowhegan Planning Board and was previously a secretary for the former Somerset Regional Dive-Rescue Association.

Govoni, 55,  serves on the Skowhegan Second Bridge Committee and Public Safety Building Committee and Sidewalk Committee. Previously, he served on the Skowhegan Planning Board for five years and also served as a chairman of the Main Street Skowhegan Board of Directors.

Govoni said in a recent interview that his interest in being on the board is to be a part of the “great things happening in Skowhegan,” including the upcoming new school in town for MSAD 54 and the new public safety building.

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