WATERVILLE — The City Council is expected Tuesday to consider taking a final vote to rezone part of 99 Webb Road to allow a solar farm to be built there.

Councilors are scheduled to hold a budget workshop at 5:30 p.m. at the City Hall Annex at 46 Front St. to review proposed budgets for the Public Works Department, the Parks & Recreation Department, Pine Grove Cemetery, capital improvements and tax increment financing.

The regular council meeting is expected to begin when the budget workshop ends.

The council took a first vote April 3 to rezone part of 99 Webb Road from general industrial to solar farm district to allow property owner Leo St. Peter to develop a solar farm there. The Planning Board voted 6-0 on March 26 to recommend the council rezone the property.

St. Peter owns Arbor Technologies LLC and about 27 acres at the site. The narrow strip he wants to rezone is north of a Central Maine Power Co. transmission easement across his land. He and Scott Tempel of Novel Energy Solutions LLC told the Planning Board on April 3 the array would be a 725-kilowatt “solar garden” hooked into a grid, and serve as a subscription base for local people to decrease their energy costs.

Before the Planning Board vote March 26, board member April Chiriboga said the site appears to be within the habitat of the upland sandpiper, an endangered, threatened and special concern species. If significant wildlife or endangered species are found on the property, the proposal could be disqualified, she said.


Tempel, a permit specialist for Novel Energy, said a thorough assessment of wildlife, wetlands and vernal pools will be done, as required by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Two-thirds of the number of councilors present Tuesday must vote in favor for the rezoning to be finalized.

Meanwhile, a memorandum to the mayor and councilors from City Planner Ann Beverage says that if the council votes to rezone the property, Novel Energy would apply to CMP for permission to hook into three-phase power at the south end of Airport Road, and if CMP grants conditional approval, St. Peter would ask the council for an easement across city property to allow Novel Energy to build an access road and install utility poles between the proposed solar farm and Airport Road.

Once St. Peter obtains an easement, he would bring his solar farm plan to the Planning Board for approval.

The solar farm district requires that if such an array is not built within a certain amount of time, the zoning reverts to its previous zone — in this case, general industrial.

In other matters, the council is expected to consider taking a first vote to adopt an historic preservation ordinance. Councilors voted April 3 to table the matter to April 16.

The intent of the ordinance is to provide a legal framework to help protect historic, architectural and culturally significant areas, landmarks and sites within their boundaries, and provide available financial and educational resources for restoration work.

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