HEATH – Special town meeting voters will decide on Tuesday whether the town should hold off on permitting any large-scale wind or solar electricity generating facilities until the town has zoning regulations that would ensure “that such uses are and development will be consistent with the town’s long-term planning interests,” according to the warrant.
The special’ town meeting will be held in the Community Hall beginning at 7 p.m.
In recent months, in part due to state incentives for green electricity generation, Franklin County towns have seen several solar farm proposals and developments and at least one windmill farm proposal in Shelburne, which has been withdrawn. A wind farm is being built in Monroe and solar farms are being built in Greenfield and Orange. The potential for other wind farms in particular have triggered anxiety by some residents in the western hilltowns.
The Planning Board has asked for the temporary moratorium while it explores possible regulations for siting large-scale wind farms and/or photovoltaic arrays built on a commercial scale – including setback requirements, height ana noise limits on wind turbines and other criteria. The vote will be to amend the town’s zoning bylaw by adding a new section, called “Temporary Moratorium on the Construction of Large Scale Wind Energy Systems and Large Scale Photovoltaic Systems.”
If the article is approved, the temporary moratorium would postpone until July 1 applications for wind or solar facilities capable of generating more than 35 kilowatts of power.
The other seven articles on the warrant seek money transfers. They include $1,500 from the “free cash” surplus to go to the Planning Board expense account, to be used for professional assistance. Also, a request for $7,200from surplus is to be placed into the treasurer’s tax-taking account. And $11,807 is requested from surplus to go to the veterans benefit account.
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