The Falmouth Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC) discussed reassessing a town meeting warrant article after a Falmouth Planning Board vote did not go its way last week.
On October 1, the planning board discussed whether to recommend proposed zoning articles at November Town Meeting. One of those proposed articles came from the EDIC. Michael DiGiano, executive director of the EDIC, presented plans to rezone 64 Technology Park Drive from “public use” to “Light Industrial C.” The change would allow the lot to be used as a solar farm.
Mr. DiGiano said a company had expressed interest in constructing ground-mounted solar arrays on the lot. The only other object on the parcel is a water tower and the solar project would comply with the setback from that tower, Mr. DiGiano said. He added that the topography was unsuitable for most other uses.
Daniel H. Webb, treasurer of the Falmouth Technology Park Association, raised concerns about altering the zoning on one technology park lot. He suggested a larger zoning change that would allow solar in Light Industrial B zones instead of altering the zoning of that parcel.
Megan Amsler of the Falmouth Energy Committee expressed concern that parts of the lot would be clear-cut to install solar. She recommended constructing solar canopies in the parking lots at the technology park instead.
Members of the planning board reiterated their support of solar projects in general, but hesitated when it came down to recommending the article.
“I’m really torn because generally we don’t want trees to be taken down,” said planning board chairwoman Patricia H. Kerfoot.
Robert Leary said the decision was difficult because they could not see exactly where the solar array would be built on the lot.
The board voted 3-2 for indefinite postponement.
When the EDIC met Tuesday, October 8,Mr. DiGiano reported back to the board. “We could go to town meeting and take our chances,” he said, but a negative vote would prevent them from bringing forward a similar article for two years.
“You all probably know town meeting better than I [do]. My guess is, with that kind of a planning board recommendation, we’re not going to make much progress,” Mr. DiGiano said.
Susan L. Moran, vice chairwoman of the EDIC, said that it might make sense to pull the article, to give the EDIC time to come up with a more comprehensive plan for zoning in that area of town. “
Mr. DiGiano said the EDIC could wait.
Members of the EDIC considered the options. Christopher Simmler noted that solar was a good use for the site and would secure revenue for EDIC projects for the next 20 years. “We have a very unique property that no one in the world wants and we found somebody that wants it,” Mr. Simmler said. The solar company interested in the site might move on if the EDIC waits until spring town meeting to introduce an article.
Michael Galasso, another member of the board, pointed out that they could discuss mitigation efforts such as planting trees elsewhere if they end up clear-cutting part of the lot.
Instead of voting to voluntarily pull the warrant article at their Tuesday meeting, members of the EDIC agreed to weigh their options and revisit it at their next meeting on the morning of November 12.