Members of the Planning Commission issued a negative advisory Wednesday, February 26, on a proposal by a commercial solar energy developer to amend the town zoning ordinance.
Charlestown has avoided the conflicts over solar development that have roiled other Rhode Island communities because it does not permit any commercial solar development. Industrial-scale solar facilities are not addressed in the town’s current comprehensive plan, nor are they permitted uses in the draft of the new comprehensive plan, which has yet to be completed.
The commission's approved advisory opinion, which will be sent to the Town Council is “It is the Planning Commission’s position that the town is not prepared at this point to undertake the comprehensive and careful effort necessary to draft a solar energy ordinance that is consistent with expected future needs both in terms of alternative energy production and natural resource protection. Also, when Charlestown does add new uses to the zoning district those new uses should not result in greater environmental impacts than the currently allowed uses.”
The Town Council will consider the developer’s application and commission's advisory opinion at a public hearing on March 9.
Read Cynthia Drummond's entire article in The Westerly Sun here.