BURRILLVILLE – A Massachusetts-based company has submitted plans to install a 5-megawatt solar array on a private property on Log Road, and planners this week agreed to walk the proposed site after hearing initial details on the project.
Econox Renewables Inc. has applied to install the ground-mounted array on a 53.5 acre property owned by Dennis Piette. The lot, situated behind residential properties on Log and Colwell Roads, has a piece of frontage along Log.
According to town property records, Piette purchased the property, a mostly vacant lot previously owned by Harvey Fortune, for $70,000 in 2001. Piette’s address is listed in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The project, which appeared before the Planning Board for the first time on Monday, July 14, would see 13.8 acres of the lot leveled and fenced off for the panels, with at least 5 acres cleared of vegetation.
The plan would cover 27.7 percent of the large property, zoned F5 – or open space, well below the 50 percent allowed by ordinance. Only one house is visible from the targeted area, according to details in a pre-application submitted May 20.
“I saw it. I think we all should see it,” said Planner Bruce Ferreira of the property.
Econox also has a project in neighboring North Smithfield to install an 840-kilowatt solar farm on land owned by Town Administrator Gary Ezovski.
“I think we have a consensus that we obviously want to be proactive in any development we do,” noted Chairman Jeffery Partington of planner’s approach to evaluating the proposal.
Board members made tentatively plans to meet with representatives from Econox to tour the property on Monday, July 20 at 6 p.m.