, Newburyport, MA

March 15, 2013

Hearing on solar farm project continued

By Jennifer Solis

---- — NEWBURY — The Board of Selectmen continued a public hearing Tuesday for a special permit to install a solar farm on the Pikul property on Scotland Road until March 26 at 7:30 p.m. The board discussed the proposal for over two hours with the applicant and abutters. Story recused himself and then left the room during the discussion. He is working on a similar project on land he owns and wanted to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest.

Blais reported that the new arrangement with G. Mello Disposal Corp. for handling trash at the transfer station has earned $3,300 in profits for the town so far.

Selectmen OK’d funding $55,478 from the Capital Project Account for a replacement police cruiser and Agro vehicle. Town officials got local and state approvals to use the balance of money realized when the landfill was capped and the new transfer station built. The two vehicles were on the Capital Planning Committee’s asset replacement list.

A request from High Tail Acres to advertise an open barn with a banner on the Upper Green was approved. The Riverside Rockets Pan Mass Challenge Bike Team got permission to set up water stops in town for their bike races on June 15.

Selectman Geoff Walker praised Story for a proactive letter issued to Gov. Deval Patrick on March 8. The letter asked for “immediate assistance” from the state “to help protect homes that will likely remain in jeopardy for the next several days and the foreseeable future.”

It also called for a partnership with the state to find “reasonable and sustainable” longterm answers to what has been an ongoing erosion crisis for property owners on the island in recent years. The letter, which was also signed by state Sen. Bruce Tarr and state Rep. Lenny Mirra, concluded by asking Patrick to “summon all available state resources” in the quest to find an acceptable solution.