Tiverton Planning Board begins solar farm review

Board has 45 days to report back to town council

By Ted Hayes
Posted 9/22/21

The Tiverton Planning Board has begun its review of an ordinance regulating solar farms here, following the Tiverton Town Council's vote last week to send members the document.

The referral to the …

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Tiverton Planning Board begins solar farm review

Board has 45 days to report back to town council

Posted

The Tiverton Planning Board has begun its review of an ordinance regulating solar farms here, following the Tiverton Town Council's vote last week to send members the document.

The referral to the planning board came after council members earlier scheduled, then canceled, a public hearing on the proposed ordinance planned for last week's meeting. Though planning board input is required for zoning amendments and changes, council members thought previously that the board had completed its requirement to review the document two years ago. At last week's council meeting, however, solicitor Michael Marcello said he realized after reviewing documents from that time that the board "clearly did not meet" its requirement to review the draft plan and offer recommendations to the council.

Last Monday's council vote gives the planning board 45 days to complete its review of the ordinance and make recommendations. Following that, the council has an additional 20 days to schedule a public hearing on the matter.

At Monday night's meeting, Main Road resident David Carden implored council members to get the ordinance right, to protect future generations of Tiverton residents.

"I'm 70 years old; this is not about me anymore," he said. "We all care about this, I know we all do. But the incentives for solar developers in this state are all wrong. There are opportunities for us to get this right and protect the agricultural  land and the forests that we have. I do think that the council needs really detailed tools to get these issues correct; my concern is that this ordinance as it is drafted doesn't give you the tools you need to make meaningful decisions on these issues."

Mr. Carden offered to provide input to the planning board as it completes its review.

"It's not that we need to rush this, it just needs to be right," councilor Joseph Perry added. "Down the road (a bad ordinance) would be a terrible legacy to leave to our children and grandchildren."

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