Cotuit Solar Farm in Limbo as Town Council Pulls Vote

HYANNIS – The Barnstable Town Council withdrew their vote on a controversial solar farm on Cotuit Water Department property at their meeting on Thursday night.

The project is now in limbo as councilors needed to approve a zoning amendment for work on the proposed solar farm to continue.

The proposed 5.7 megawatt solar farm on the 32 acres of land off Main Street and Sampson’s Mill Road has yet to be permitted by the town or Cape Cod Commission.

“It will not impact the real estate values, it won’t be seen by anybody out there and it won’t be making any noise out there,” said Ted Barnicle, Cotuit Water Department Board of Commissioners Chair. “It will generate $85,000 a year for us and it will also generate $68,000 a year for taxes here in the Town of Barnstable.”

Cotuit residents are upset with the project after preparation work by a subcontractor for a Borrego Solar Systems, the company that was awarded the construction bid, cleared land that was within 50 feet of property lines of residential abutters.

They were supposed to clear land no more than 300 feet from homes.

The residents packed the town council chamber and took turns giving their input on the solar farm during a public hearing.

“I’m opposed to any project that calls for the clearcutting of 30 plus acres of land, some of it old growth, on protected water supply land,” said Cotuit resident James Kinney.

Last week, residents packed in Freedom Hall in Cotuit to express their anger at the project during a Board of Commissioners meeting.

Representatives from Borrego also attended the meeting and spoke before town council.

“We want to ask the council for a continuance so that we can spend some time, meet with the community, perhaps revise some of our plans and address some of the concerns that have been brought up,” said Borrego Project Developer Zachary Farkes.

A motion was made by Councilor John Norman to continue the vote on the amendment on May 18, but was struck down in a roll call of other councilors.

The decision to withdraw the vote on the amendment without prejudice came to an 8-5 vote..

“Cotuit’s problem is our problem, the Town of Barnstable’s problem, and I don’t separate our villages when it comes to the quality of life for all of us,” said councilor Paul Hebert.


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