Gold property solar farm up for consideration

Gold property solar farm up for consideration

Plans prepared by DiPrete Engineering and submitted to the North Smithfield Planning Department show a planned solar array on property owned by the Gold family. The panels are pictured in white, and Tarkiln Pond is seen in the northwest corner of the drawing. A second version of the plans eliminates some of the panels for conservation land.

NORTH SMITHFIELD – Four months after declining what he considered a lowball offer from town officials to purchase his property, resident David Gold is moving forward with plans to develop his family’s Mattity Road land for solar, with the project appearing before the Planning Board tonight, Oct. 3.

Last month, Anthony DelVicario, a solar developer who has previously worked under the name Rhode Island Renewable Energy LLC, submitted plans to the town to develop the site for solar. Gold sold the rights to develop the property to DelVicario after declining the town’s offer in May.

Though the plans do not specify the size of the project, Town Administrator Gary Ezovski told The Breeze in May the farm would likely produce about 10 megawatts of energy. The plans show panels covering approximately 33 acres of the 128-acre site.

Two version of the plans have been submitted to the Planning Department. In the first, panels cover most of the developable portions of the site. In the second, an area near the pond on the property identified as conservation area has been reserved without panels. In May, the developer’s attorney, John Mancini, said DelVicario was considering donating 60 acres of the land for town use under a conservation easement.

Mancini did not respond to questions this week on whether that arrangement was still in place.

In addition to the possible conservation land, the plans show a bike path running along a former railroad bed on the property.

The proposal came after more than 10 years of negotiations between Gold and the town on a possible purchase of the property. Open space advocates had long urged town officials to purchase the land for use as a recreational park. Opponents of the purchase argued the price was too high and the town may be able to acquire portions of the land through donations or other means.

No votes will be taken tonight on the project.

The proposal lands on the same night Planning Board members are scheduled to begin a workshop discussion of possible amendments to the town’s solar zoning ordinance. Last month, Planning Board Member Megan Staples proposed requesting a moratorium on all new solar applications from the Town Council, gaining the unanimous support of her fellow board members. The goal of the moratorium, she said, was to give the town time to review their solar ordinance for gaps and revise it before any new applications could be submitted. Though the council has not yet declared a moratorium, the board is moving forward with a review of the current ordinance during a workshop session scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Primrose Fire Station tonight.

In addition to solar, board members will also consider a proposal by North Smithfield Auto Body to expand their activities on Eddie Dowling Highway. The business owners seek to construct a new auto body shop to the right of their current building. The 14,300-square-foot building, according to the plans, will include an office, waiting room, assessment bays and 12 new service bays. The plans will require approval by the Planning Board, Rhode Island Department of Transportation and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management before moving forward.

Comments

These are OK under Power lines or on Superfund sites.They are ugly for our beautiful town.

Pave paradise, put up a(nother) solar farm.

I wish I had enough time to spend worrying what others do on their own property.
So much for land owner's rights

This is what happens when one wants more that it's worth ! Way over priced for land that CANNOT be built on !