A unanimous vote by Lisbon’s planning board last week will allow for the construction of solar arrays at 101 Frost Hill Ave., to the consternation of some neighbors.

The project is proposed by Borrego Solar Systems, Inc., of Lowell, Massachusetts. Ryan Bailey, the project developer for Borrego Solar, told the planning board in February that the proposed 5-megawatt solar facility would be built on 17 out of 73 acres of the property.

The project drew criticism from abutters concerned about its impact.

One neighbor, Lisa McDougal of Frost Hill Avenue, told the council on March 2 that the project will lower the value of her property. Her two-story home would face the solar arrays, she said.

Another abutter, Peter Larochelle, urged councilors at their March 2 meeting to put a pause on solar projects until the town has a better understanding of their impact on the town.

The council voted on March 16 to put a 90-day hold on new solar projects, which didn’t include the Frost Hill Avenue project.

Bailey said in an interview last month that Borrego listened to the abutters and pushed the project to the back of the property as far away from neighbors as possible.

Planning Board Chairperson Curtis Lunt said Thursday that the board delayed voting on the project so the town could reach out to abutters about the revised plan.

“They really designed this up in the woods where it’s not going to be seen,” said Dennis Douglass, the town’s code enforcement officer.

Larochelle said Monday that the town doesn’t have zoning rules that specifically address solar projects. He argued this is a large commercial project proposed in the residential zone where he lives.

Larochelle said he still worries that the solar power project will be visible from his home.

“If it’s back further and I don’t see it, I feel better about it,” Larochelle said. “They’re trying to work with me on it, so I understand that and appreciate that.”

No one from the public spoke about the project Thursday.

Bailey said he expects to start construction this fall or in the spring of 2022.


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