STURBRIDGE – Selectmen on Monday determined that solar photovoltaic arrays are not permitted in residential zoning districts under the town’s zoning bylaws.
Town Administrator Shaun A. Suhoski encouraged the board to take this stand based on two legal opinions, and on the board’s prior vote finding that potential solar projects filed for property off Shepard Road and Fiske Hill Road “present a clear and present danger to the health, safety and welfare” of Sturbridge residents.
Town Counsel Joel B. Bard, from Kopelman & Paige, and an independent lawyer, Raymond Miyares, supplied the legal opinions to the board.
Selectwoman Priscilla Gimas moved that solar photovoltaic arrays are not permitted in residential districts under the bylaws, and that the board should pledge to defend its finding upon any appeal.
In addition, Ms. Gimas moved that the board place a warrant article on the special town meeting warrant calling for a one-year moratorium on private large-scale ground-mounted solar installations and wind energy systems, and request the Planning Board to develop appropriate zoning bylaws for such projects by Dec. 31, 2013.
Both motions passed 5-0.
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