Haverhill Council Advances Tighter Regulations on Ground-Based Solar Panels

Haverhill City Councilor William J. Macek. (WHAV News file photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

Solar farms—great as a renewable source of energy, but some say not the most attractive thing to have in your backyard. For that reason, Haverhill City Councilors considered some regulation proposals presented by Councilor William J. Macek at Tuesday’s Administration and Finance Committee meeting.

Macek, who was responsible for a moratorium on ground-based solar farms last year, says rules allowing those facilities to be built in close proximity to residential areas are not stringent enough.

“I think that those dimensions are minimal at best in protection of neighborhoods and quality of life for the residences that are going to be real close to these. A hundred feet is nothing,” Macek said.

Macek proposed doubling the setback area for those facilities, from 100 feet to 200 feet. He also suggested an ordinance giving the City Council the right to impose reasonable protections for the surrounding areas, as needed, and upon decommission of sites, those companies will need to meet stabilization and revegetation criteria as set by the Conservation Commission.

Those proposals will be brought before the full City Council for consideration at its next meeting.

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