Town of Scarborough staff have rendered a map showing locations where utility-scale solar arrays may be developed if new language for the zoning ordinance is approved by the town council. Courtesy photo

SCARBOROUGH — Town councilors spoke in favor of updating the town’s zoning ordinance to include language allowing for solar developments.

On Sept. 1, the council and town staff discussed changes that the ordinance committee recommended, allowing for utility-scale solar development on parcels of land equal to or greater than 25 acres and in the Rural Residence Farming; Rural Residence, Farming and Manufactured Housing; and Industrial zones.

Jami Fitch, the town’s sustainability coordinator, said Maine laws that made solar developing more feasible went into effect in 2019. Scarborough’s current zoning ordinance does not allow for solar developments.

“So we worked on pulling together new performance standards to allow this type of development, largely because it aligns very closely with the council-endorsed energy and sustainability plan that the sustainability committee put together back in 2017,” she said.

Solar farms will stay close to five megawatts, Fitch said.

“Once you hit five megawatts it triggers a whole other set of requirements through the state, so solar development of this scale — they’re going to try to get as close to five megawatts as possible,” she said.

Jay Chace, the town planner, and town staff designed a map that shows where 25-acre or greater parcels are located in the relevant zoning districts.

“Not every single one of these lots is possible, but these are 25-acre parcels,” he said.

Current proposed solar farms are located to the west of the turnpike, except for a property abutting Route 1, near the Saco-Scarborough border, Chace said.

The council will have a public hearing and final vote on the matter at a future meeting.

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