Residents question solar panel farm plans


The two-hour meeting started with the continuation of a Special Permit Public Hearing for outdoor seating at a planned Pan Asian cuisine restaurant. Mike Scott of Waterman Associates spoke to the board on behalf of owner Rajan Mehtani of S & P Enterprises. He explained that the owner of the restaurant is also opening a second eatery in the building. That restaurant will be located in the space formerly occupied by Subway. The owner plans to off er Indian cuisine at that location. The board unanimously approved the special permit.

Mike Farina and Imran Qidwai addressed the board on behalf of the Westborough Green Energy Committee. They presented information on plans to establish the town as a Green Community as defined by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. The group is hoping to establish town-wide support for the plan and seeks to win approval in the fall Town Meeting for establishing a Stretch Energy Code.

If voters approve of adopting the optional Stretch Energy Code, energy efficiency requirements on new residential and commercial buildings will increase. These requirements would also include residential renovations or additions.

The final agenda item of the evening involved a special permit request for earth moving and clearing. Developer Bruce Forrestall, president of 21 South Street Inc., is seeking the permit to create a solar panel farm off Milk Street. Forrestall is planning to install 1,200 solar panels on a piece of land that sits north of the railroad tracks and east of Milk Street. Energy created by the farm will be used by National Grid.

About a dozen residents from the Hadley Lane neighborhood attended the meeting to ask about the planned project. Some expressed concern that the developer might use Hadley Lane to access the property. Town Engineer Carl Balduf assured residents that the proposal is for Milk Street access only.

The issue of increased traffic on Milk Street was also discussed. Forrestall reminded those in attendance that the project should only last three months.

When asked about the safety of the solar panel farm for children playing in the area, Forrestall explained that the facility will be surrounded by an eight-foot barbed wire fence.