City Council Grants Special Permits for 6,000-Panel East Haverhill Solar Farm

(File photograph.)

The Haverhill City Council approved two special permits last night for a large-scale ground-mounted solar energy system on Amesbury Line Road.

Solar Smart of Summerville, S.C., plans to install the system on land owned by Theodore Xenakis at 139 Amesbury Line Road. The project, which would cover 18.6 acres, will consist of more than 6,000 panels and produce about two megawatts of power.

Solar Smart’s attorney Robert D. Harb, told the council the company has been diligent in the development of this project.

“We’ve met all the design standards. We’ve met all the dimensional requirements, the setbacks. The use isn’t going to cause any detriment to the neighborhood. You’re not going to see it. It’s way in the back. The use supplies for community energy needs which is serviced by this project,” he told councilors.

In addition, Harb said, the company agreed to work with Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School and allow students to learn about solar energy and ground-mounted systems.

The project required a second special permit because of its proximity to Haverhill’s Water Supply Protection Overlay District. However, the Water Division noted that the planned construction was actually outside of the water supply protection zone.

The project, which will cost approximately $4.5 million, will have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years.

Councilor William J. Macek expressed what appeared to be the sentiment of all of councilors regarding the plan.

“There will be no negative impact on any neighbors in the area. It’s passive and I think it’s the kind of thing that we should encourage for this type of a site too. I think that the site is perfect for solar. It is where the future lies and we’re taking a big step in that direction with this particular project,” Macek said.

The Council voted 9-0 to approve both special permits, contingent upon passage by all city boards and department heads.

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