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Dartmouth to hold public hearing for proposed zoning articles  

Credit:  By ANIKA CLARK, www.southcoasttoday.com 9 April 2012 ~~

DARTMOUTH – As Dartmouth considers its alternative energy future, the town will hold a public hearing tonight on five zoning articles. These articles will appear on the June Town Meeting warrant.

One of the articles, sponsored by residents and the Dartmouth Planning Board, would limit commercial wind turbines to “General Industrial” and “Limited Industrial” zoning districts.

Alternative energy has been a major topic in town, with the Dartmouth Select Board voting in October to abandon plans for two turbines on town-owned land off Chase Road. The town has multiple solar projects in the works, although ConEdison Development’s construction of a large solar farm in a residential area on Hixville Road has fueled controversy.

Among other issues, residents have decried the noise of a construction project they said they weren’t notified of and have expressed concerns about the impact on property values and the affect the tree-clearing could have on their well water filtration.

Two articles deal with requirements for solar farms. The first, sponsored by the Select Board, would amend the solar farm section added in June. One of the changes would be to require site plan review for large-scale photovoltaic installations, as opposed to the building permit review that’s required by the bylaw.

The article would also alter buffer requirements and would increase setback requirements for these projects from 75 feet to 100 feet, generally, from street and property lines. An exception would be when the project is in an industrial zone. In this case, the setback requirement would be 25 feet, unless the property is next to a residential district.

Among other changes, this article would also expand requirements for the financial surety. Through an escrow account, bond or other mechanism, the surety covers the cost of the project’s removal or the site’s remediation.

Another zoning article, sponsored by Joseph and Colleen Noseworthy and Gloria Bancroft, prohibits large-scale solar projects in residential zones. This is the same topic slated to be considered at the special Town Meeting on April 24.

Also up for discussion at tonight’s hearing is an article sponsored by the Board of Health and the Planning Board that would add a member of the Board of Health and a member of the Board of Assessors to the Technical Research Group. This is a group designated for special permit review of residential and commercial wind turbine projects.

The final article, sponsored by the Planning Board, would increase the number of events or days for allowable “temporary uses” in parking lots. The public hearing is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Planning Board meeting room (Room 315) in Town Hall.

Source:  By ANIKA CLARK, www.southcoasttoday.com 9 April 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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