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Board Discusses Legality of Bullard Farm Solar Plant

A solar energy facility proposed for Bullard Street in Holliston was the subject of debate at Thursday's Planning Board meeting.

The question on the minds of many Bullard Street area residents concerned with a has been a simple one: "How can they put an industrial facility in our residential area?"

On Thursday, Holliston's Planning Board discussed just that. 

Attorneys hired by the town of Holliston and by solar developer Renewable Energy Massachusetts traded arguments on the interpretation of laws governing solar energy installations, and if building one on Bullard Street is legal. 

Robert Orsi, an attorney for Renewable Energy Massachusetts, cited in his argument a state law which makes any unreasonable regulation of solar arrays illegal.

Mark Bobrowski, Holliston's attorney, pointed out direct conflicts in state and town ordinances, concluding that the town is free to adopt the laws to fit their needs. 

"The board can either rely on the town book or the state book," Bobrowski said. 

The floor was opened to the audience, where residents were once again critical of the developers and asked tough questions regarding the safety of the facility. 

Tom Gilbert, an area resident, asked if wind could dislodge panels from their metal supports. Other residents questioned the possibility of an electrical fire from new wiring and if toxic chemicals from the facility could leak into the town's ground water. 

Hearings on the issue will continue on Feb. 16. 

David Bastille January 26, 2012 at 05:59 PM
This point (the "state law which makes any unreasonable regulation of solar arrays illegal") came up at last Saturday's environmental forum hosted by the Dems at the Holliston Library. I think a lot of people had never heard of that provision. It makes you stop and wonder...even if you're "green," maybe especially if you're "green." Whose interests are being served? Is this just another handout to businesses that aren't even based here? What happened to the folks at home retaining control over what happens in their neighborhoods? I'm glad Mr. Bobrowski is challenging the developers.
Bob Hassinger January 29, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Is a "solar array" a commercial power generation plant, or is it one element of it? Check your zoning on what it says about power generation plants.

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