The Committee’s plan is to draft preliminary regulations, followed by public input during scheduled hearings, and to present an article at the Annual Town Meeting of 2019.
The Solar Moratorium Review Committee was formed as part of Article 28 at the Annual Town Meeting May 21, 2018 which was approved by the Attorney General’s Office on September 10, 2018. Article 28 proposed a temporary moratorium whereby no building permit may be issued for the construction of any Large Scale, Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installation until adjournment of the business portion of the May 2019 Annual Town Meeting.
Purpose of the Moratorium
The purpose of this moratorium is to allow sufficient time to engage in a planning process to address the effects of such structures and uses in the town and to enact bylaws in a manner consistent with sound land use planning goals and objectives. This advisory committee is to research and study the subject of Large Scale Ground Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installations as such relate to or may affect the Town of Charlton and its citizens and during the moratorium period to provide pertinent information and input from the community and other interested parties to the Planning Board at its public hearings on any possible zoning bylaws relating to such installations.
Model Zoning for Solar Energy
Charlton has experienced exponential growth of solar with 22 large scale ground-mounted solar arrays installed and another 5 more in the permitting process. The Committee is following the Model Zoning for the Regulation of Solar Energy Systems, from the Department of Energy Resources, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, December 2014. This guide, along with several examples of solar regulations from other towns, has provided the committee with pertinent information for solar specific regulations that Charlton’s zoning guidelines lacked.