BELGRADE — Residents at a special town meeting this week decided to extend by 180 days a ban on a range of developments in Belgrade, including solar and wind farms.
Tuesday’s vote was the second time a moratorium has been extended since it went into effect last November. It means applications for various permits, including for subdivisions and telecommunication installations, are not being accepted by the town.
The moratorium is scheduled to expire May 5 and is expected to give the Planning Board time to update the town’s outdated subdivision ordinance and draft regulations for commercial projects.
The board wants to require a decommissioning plan and a visual impact assessment for solar and wind farms, according to officials.
Town Manager Anthony Wilson said Wednesday he expects the changes to include a buffer strip for solar farms that would shield solar panels and equipment from roads or abutting properties.
A draft of the solar ordinance says its goal is to “support the development of utility scale solar energy facilities in a manner that minimizes any potential adverse effects on the scenic, cultural and natural resource character of the town.”......................
A buffer strip — trees and bushes — has been installed at the 20-acre former Christmas tree farm to shield the solar farm from view, even though such a buffer is not required in Belgrade.
The solar array would be a commercial installation, with the power it generates sold back to the electric grid.
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