Wiscasset’s next solar project heads to hearing

Tue, 09/28/2021 - 8:45am

In a short meeting via Zoom Monday night, Wiscasset’s Planning Board gave the green light to the Wiscasset Gardiner Solar Project to move to the next step in the site plan review process. Kara Moody of Stantec Consulting Services Inc. and Martha Staskus of Norwich Technologies presented the site plan application on behalf of Wiscasset Gardiner Solar LLC. The plan calls for a 1.99 megawatt solar farm off Gardiner Road, on the east side just south of the intersection with Foye Road.

The solar farm will be fenced in and be about 9.6 acres. There would be one 12-foot-wide gravel driveway as the entrance to the property. Board member Al Cohen asked if the project would be visible from the road and Moody said she does not expect the panels will be, because the project is about 300 feet back from the road. Moody also said the project is expected to begin construction in mid-2022 with the goal of completion at the end of 2022. Board member Deb Pooler asked about clear cutting, to which Moody replied that about 12 acres in total will need to be cleared, most of it forest, and which will then end up as a meadow-like terrain.

Emily Rabbe of Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission, which is contracted by the town to review site plans, said she found the application “very thorough” and there were only a few minor corrections that needed to be addressed.

The board voted to find the site plan application complete; a public hearing on the project will occur at the next board meeting, set for 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25. The board also scheduled a site walk of the proposed project for 4 p.m. Oct. 20.

Chair Karl Olson said the Oct. 25 meeting would likely be via Zoom, but that could change depending on pandemic guidelines.