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In Dartmouth, fight looming over long proposed solar farm

McInnes’s Jan. 30, 2020 letter to the Dartmouth Zoning Board of Appeals states that Brady Estates’ time to keep the land for a solar development is up. “Therefore, the Select Board concurrently opposes the present request by Brady Estates to amend the variance decision in order to modify the terms under which it can delay the conveyance of Parcel B,” the letter reads. The Select Board, the letter notes, intends to deliver a demand for execution of the deed “at or before the next hearing date.”

DARTMOUTH — A developer is resisting the town’s demand to reclaim 44.7 acres on Hixville Road that he was planning for a large solar farm.

The town asserts that Brady Estates LLC has yet to gain the necessary wetlands and building permit approvals that were part of the agreement to allow the solar plan to develop.

Brady LLC owner Joseph Lemieux — who has announced he is challenging incumbent Stanley Mickelson for a seat on the town’s Select Board in the April 7 election — says he won’t give up so easily.

“I’ve been trying to get those permits for seven years. It makes no sense to me that you lose your land because you can’t get the permits in enough time,” he said. “The town could be making money from this solar farm by now. It’s the town holding us up. ”

His solar farm developer Alan Clapp said the issue delaying the solar project from moving forward is that a 2016 variance amendment request to extend to two years the time limit for Conservation Commission wetlands permit action and from 25 to 30 years the deadline to “convey” the property to the town was approved by the town zoning board. But it was not properly filed and recorded with the county Registry... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

DARTMOUTH — A developer is resisting the town’s demand to reclaim 44.7 acres on Hixville Road that he was planning for a large solar farm.

The town asserts that Brady Estates LLC has yet to gain the necessary wetlands and building permit approvals that were part of the agreement to allow the solar plan to develop.

Brady LLC owner Joseph Lemieux — who has announced he is challenging incumbent Stanley Mickelson for a seat on the town’s Select Board in the April 7 election — says he won’t give up so easily.

“I’ve been trying to get those permits for seven years. It makes no sense to me that you lose your land because you can’t get the permits in enough time,” he said. “The town could be making money from this solar farm by now. It’s the town holding us up. ”

His solar farm developer Alan Clapp said the issue delaying the solar project from moving forward is that a 2016 variance amendment request to extend to two years the time limit for Conservation Commission wetlands permit action and from 25 to 30 years the deadline to “convey” the property to the town was approved by the town zoning board. But it was not properly filed and recorded with the county Registry of Deeds by the previous solar developer that Lemieux had contracted with, Clapp said.

Because of this error, Clapp said, the project’s deadline time clock technically started ticking after the previous variance amendment approval in January 2014. In January of this year, the zoning board received the developer’s request to amend the permit action deadline further. But the hearing into that matter has been continued and the issue remains unresolved.

The problem places Lemieux in a catch-22 that only makes him more resistant to the town’s demand. “They conditioned the plan on permits they didn’t give me,” he said. “So now I lose the land to the town because of I don’t have the right permits in enough time that the town didn’t give me.”

The process that led Lemieux to this point started in December 2012 when Brady Estates LLC received approval of zoning board variances to develop 16 single-family housing units on 3.17 acres and a solar farm on another 44.7 acres on the west side of Hixville Road near Digger Drive. The variance was needed because the parcel is zoned Limited Industrial.

This variance agreement conveyed 70 of the Hixville Road acreage dedicated to housing to the town because the developer had changed his original plan, which would have included constructing 40B affordable and condominium units at what is now known as ‘Thomas Henry Heights’.

The variance agreement also conveyed the latter 44.7 acres, which officials have labeled Parcel B, to the town if the developer did not complete the solar farm wetlands and building permitting within a year of this variance approval.

Zoning board files show Lemieux next received approval of an amendment to his plan in January 2014 that extended the time limits to obtain a Conservation Commission permits to build an access road by two years and the deadline to convey the land to the town from 20 to 25 years. Then in January 2016 the zoning panel approved the extending the Conservation Committee permitting timeline an additional two years.

The two-year time limit clock started ticking in 2016, said Town Administrator Shawn McInnes, even though this ruling is complicated by the reality that the Brady Estates LLC representatives did not properly file that year’s decision with the Registry of Deeds.

McInnes’s Jan. 30, 2020 letter to the Dartmouth Zoning Board of Appeals states that Brady Estates’ time to keep the land for a solar development is up. “Therefore, the Select Board concurrently opposes the present request by Brady Estates to amend the variance decision in order to modify the terms under which it can delay the conveyance of Parcel B,” the letter reads.

The Select Board, the letter notes, intends to deliver a demand for execution of the deed “at or before the next hearing date.”

That next date will be the project’s continued hearing on March 10.

Lemieux said a meeting with McInnes and town counsel over the issue may happen sooner than that March date. “I will decide what I will do next after that,” he said. “If I have to take them to court, I will.”


Source: https://www.southcoasttoday...

FEB 22 2020
http://www.windaction.org/posts/50975-in-dartmouth-fight-looming-over-long-proposed-solar-farm
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