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Buckland to hold public hearing on wind, solar projects

BUCKLAND – The Planning Board will hold a public hearing Wednesday night, to consider two articles that would put any wind turbine and largescale solar projects “on hold” for a year, to give the board time to develop siting bylaws for either construction.

The hearing takes place in Town Hall, State Street, at 7 p.m.

Both articles will appear on the annual town meeting warrant, but the first, for wind turbines, was proposed by the Planning Board. That article could be changed before annual town meeting, to reflect input gathered at Wednesday’s meeting.

The second article was presented to town officials through a residents’ petition and may not be altered, except on town meeting floor, according to state law.

Wind-generating facilities are now permitted through the Zoning Board of Appeals’ special permit process, in all zoning districts within Buckland. The Planning Board’s bylaw proposal would prohibit building permits for any wind-generating facilities until July 2013.

The temporary moratorium is intended to give the board “sufficient time” to study the effects of turbines and to tailor a zoning bylaw “consistent with sound land use planning goals and objectives.”

The second bylaw, proposed by town residents, would temporarily prohibit building permits for large-scale solar PV facilities that produce more than 35 kilowatts. This temporary moratorium would expire on June 15, 2013.

According to this article, a 5kilowatt system is the average size for home-use in Massachusetts, and the average size for a barn or sugar house is 35 kilowatts.

Annual town meeting voters will decide both proposed moratorium issues on May 9.