Barre gives developer more time to construct solar project on 98

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 August 2022 at 9:48 am

BARRE – A developer looking to build a 4.5 megawatt solar project at 4360 Oak Orchard Rd. was given an extension by the Town Board with the project’s construction.

AES DE Devco NC asked for two 6-month extensions for the site plan, special use permit and building permit. The board approved the first 6-month extension on Wednesday and will give allow the town code enforcement officer to use discretion whether a second extension is needed.

AES representatives told town officials on Wednesday supply-chain delays have held up construction.

The company initially secured the special use permit and site plan approval in October 2021 from the town, with a building permit issued in March 2022.

The 4.5 megawatt project would be Route 98 near Lime Kiln Road. It would go on land owned by Joshua Baird, and Jacob and Melissa Monacelli.

The solar arrays will be located at 4360 Oak Orchard Rd., where the developer can tap directly into a 13.2-kilovolt distribution line. The project doesn’t include battery storage.

There will be 14,118 solar panels and they will be surrounded with a 7-foot-high perimeter chain link fence. There will be 40,543 linear feet of low-voltage and 1,258 feet of high-voltage underground wiring. The project also includes a decommissioning plan.

The plan calls for planting 191 deciduous and evergreen trees along with 92 shrubs and pollinators.

With the first 6-month extension approved by the Town Board on Wednesday, the special use permit and site approval are good until April 13, 2023, with the building permit valid until Sept. 22, 2023.

In other action on Wednesday, the Town Board:

Approved paying C&H PC in Medina $1,473 to upgrade the sound system in the town hall with new microphones, cables, speakers and monitor. Town Supervisor Sean Pogue said many people can’t hear what is said in the town meetings, especially if they are following on the YouTube channel.

The town will pay for the expense from its allotment of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Accepted Barry Flansburg’s letter of resignation “with regret.” He is retiring as town assessor at 5 p.m. on Sept. 30. He has served in the role for 30 years.

Pogue said two people have expressed interest in the job, and the town also could see if the county would be open to a contractual agreement to provide assessing services for Barre.