A private developer is going through the process of getting permits from the town of Andover in hopes of building a solar farm in the near future. Talmage Solar Engineering is hoping to build a 4 megawatt solar farm at 1350 South Street, which is adjacent to Interstate 93 and the Tewksbury border.
However, some Tewksbury neighbors are starting to have concerns about the project.
The plot of land that Talmage will be developing, now frequented by all terrain vehicles, is a little over 40 acres, but only 14 acres will be used to build the solar panels. Half of the land will be preserved due to restrictions which were laid down by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. Talmage is also working on a deal to donate some of the land to AVIS.
There will be about 40-45 structures that are about 10-11 feet tall. The farm will also require little human supervision and is being financed by Talmage.
Currently Kale Inoue, the CFO of Talmage is applying for permits from the Planning Board, Conservation Commission and Zoning Boards of Appeals. Construction will take 6 to 9 months on the project, if it is passed.
The farm would not be connected to any Andover homes, but Tewksbury residents that live near the proposed site are concerned about how the farms would affect their homes.
Fieldstone Circle resident Dina Castigli received a notice from the Andover Zoning Board of Appeals in June regarding the solar farm and was caught off guard by the proposal.
She attended Tuesday night’s planning board meeting to question the developers about how it would affect nearby Tewskbury residents.
“I received this notice in the mail and I decided to come to the zoning board meeting [last Thursday] and this meeting to receive more information about it,” said Castigli. “I went around and knocked on more than fifty neighbors’ doors and took their questions and asked them to the board and the developer.”
Some of the concerns which Castigli had, had to do with safety issues regarding the units.
Castigli was concerned about living so close to the proximity of the solar farms, as well as what would happen if children were able to jump over the six foot fence and wandered near the units. Inoue made it clear that his intentions were to be a good neighbor to the existing Tewksbury residents.
Castigli was also under the impression that she would be able to see the farms from her yard, but that will not be the case as Talmage will be leaving a buffer of trees between the Tewksbury houses and the solar farms.
On Tuesday night, the Planning Board voted to close the hearing and begin deliberating about whether to permit Inoue to start constructing on the land.