City Council Adopts Restrictions on Private Solar Power Arrays

(File photograph.)

Haverhill City Councilor William J. Macek.

Haverhill City Councilor William J. Macek.

A ground-mounted solar power array.

So-called corrections to the city’s review process for solar energy installations were endorsed Tuesday by the Haverhill City Council.

Councilors unanimously backed amendments to a city ordinance that would, in part, restrict “large scale ground mounted” solar arrays in commercial, industrial, business park or waterfront zones and allow the council to grant special permits for ground or roof-mounted projects. Councilors followed recommendations of the Haverhill Planning Board and Economic and Planning Director William Pillsbury to further lower the “large scale” threshold from five acres to three. No opposition was voiced during a public hearing by the council. Pillsbury said the amended ordinance will help preserve commercial and waterfront zones for development.

“We certainly are not against large-scale, ground-mounted facilities but we don’t believe those zones should be considered,” Pillsbury said. “There are other alternatives and therein lies the special permit process to come to the city council, as they do for residential projects or anything else that would allow them to come here.”

Haverhill Planning and Economic Development Director William Pillsbury Jr.

Haverhill Planning and Economic Development Director William Pillsbury Jr.

Among other things, Pillsbury added, the revised ordinance corrects zoning elements and moves the approval process for solar projects from the board of appeals and “in a proper fashion.”

“It takes it out of the realm of the board of appeals, where they were really approving it in a category of a utility. So, it really wasn’t the appropriate category for zoning,” Pillsbury said.

Councilor William J. Macek, who motioned for approval, called the measure a “smart move.”

“It serves not only the solar people that would want to come to the city but, also, it serves our city well because  it won’t allow for the usage of vast acreage of property just for solar. I think it’s a great move. I think it’s something that you’ll see other communities start to follow us. I think again we’re somewhat ahead of the pack,” Macek said.

One thought on “City Council Adopts Restrictions on Private Solar Power Arrays

  1. No opposition, how about publishing the city council agenda or at least informing the public of the agenda before the day of.
    Some of us have jobs and other activities that would need advance notice so that the residents can attend and be heard.
    This is all to common with this city. Ever try looking up the mins of a meeting? Unless it has changed relatively recently the minutes are never up to date wither