Holliston's Planning Board voted unanimously Thursday night against installing a solar energy plant on Bullard Street amid a fervor of public opposition to the proposed facility.
With possible risks to the health of area residents due to factors including toxic chemicals in the panels and the output of electromagnetic frequency, board members voted 5-0 to have the town's lawyers draft a denial of the project.
Stop Bullard Farm Power Plant, a group started on the web by concerned residents, brought organized opposition against building a facility in the residential Bullard Street neighborhood.
Tom Gilbert, an organizer of the Stop Bullard movement, said his past several months of researching solar panels and attending the group's meetings was time well spent.
"With the vote we got, well its just great," Gilbert said.
The meeting's attendees stood and cheered when the board cast its vote.
"I feel like its the end of the Superbowl and I should say 'I'm going to Disney Land,'" Sandra O'Neil, an opponent of the facility said.
Holliston residents packed the board's meeting room over the past 4 months to attend hearings on the proposed 2-megawatt, 7,500-solar-panel project. Almost all came in opposition, citing potential health risks and asthetic changes to the area as major concerns.
Jack Donovan, chairman of the Planning Board, said the extensive pubic hearings on the issue were necessary in order to make a decision.
"Its very important to hear every resident, you can't shut them out," Donovan said.
Town laws allow officials to vote down a solar facility only if it will affect the health, welfare or well-being of residents.
Holliston homeowners hope the town will pass a bylaw to prevent similar energy projects in residential areas.