The Bourne Planning Board has approved installation of a new solar farm project at the former Cape Cod Aggregates site off Scenic Highway.
The board issued its approval on the heels of the board of selectmen confirming compliance by Cape Cod Aggregates with a restoration/mitigation agreement with the Town of Bourne.
The planning board issued its approval of the project during a remote meeting held last Thursday, October 8.
Twice before, the board had decided not to rule on the project.
Town Counsel Robert S. Troy advised the planners that questions remain relative to compliance by Cape Cod Aggregates with an agreement the company had with the town to re-vegetate the site of its mining operations.
For more than a decade, Cape Cod Aggregates mined 126 acres just off Scenic Highway. The company excavated the site for materials used in the construction industry. Items sold included various forms of stone, stone dust, gravel and sand. Excavation at the site ended in June 2019.
The zoning board of appeals, at its September 16 meeting, voted that Cape Cod Aggregates had complied substantially with restoration of the excavation site.
Despite the ZBA’s approval, the planning board chose twice to postpone ruling on the project, both times on the advice of Mr. Troy.
Planning board chairman Steven P. Strojny told the members that the matter of compliance went before the selectmen that Tuesday, October 6. Mr. Strojny said the selectmen agreed unanimously that Cape Cod Aggregates had complied with the terms of its restoration agreement, and released the company from its covenant.
The selectmen’s decision was made in part, Mr. Strojny said, because of comments from Town Administrator Anthony E. Schiavi and Building Inspector Kenneth Murphy. Both officials concurred that the company had fulfilled its obligation to re-vegetate the mining site.
“The last time this project was before the planning board, we postponed until the selectmen concurred on compliance,” Mr. Strojny said. “Since that happened, we can move forward.”
Next Grid Inc. of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, brought forward the new venture. The company plans to install a photovoltaic, ground-mounted system on the same property that Cape Cod Aggregates mined for decades.
The system will generate five megawatts of AC and 15 megawatts of DC, solar-generated power. The parcel is bisected by Eversource transmission lines, to which the company can connect immediately.
Planning board member Daniel L. Doucette served as head reviewer on the project. Mr. Doucette advocated for approval of the project because “it cleans up the site, keeps dust down and limits its access onto the highway.”
“It’s a win-win for the town,” he said.
Board members voted unanimously in favor of granting Next Grid its special permit for the project. The company said, dependent on winter weather, it expects to be in operation by April 2021.