Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 09-05-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 NORTH SMITHFIELD SEPTEMBER 5-11, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION NORTH SMITHFIELD – The town's latest solar development has received approval from the Zoning Board and is on track to begin con- struction later this year. Econox Renewables, a company based in Winchester, Mass., appeared before the Zoning Board Aug. 27 to seek a special use permit to build an 840-kilowatt solar farm on land off Greenville Road. Board members voted 5-0 to approve the project, with member Mario DiNunzio recusing himself as an abutter to the property. The farm will be constructed on two lots totaling about 30 acres to the east of Greenville Road. Town Administrator Gary Ezovski owns the land under the company name Grand Banks Commerce Park LLC, which has drawn criticism from some residents. In May, the Rhode Island Ethics Commission issued an advisory opinion that his role as town administrator does not conflict with his interest in the project since none of the decision-making bodies related to the project report to or are appointed by the administrator. "Although the petitioner and Econox are business associates under the Code of Ethics, the petitioner is neither a member of nor employed by the Planning or Zoning Boards, and does not have a role in their decision-making regarding applications for special use permits," the opinion stated. "Further, the petitioner is not appearing or representing himself before either the Planning or Zoning Boards." The property spans either side of the power lines south of Route 146. According to David Russo, a project manager for DiPrete Engineering, all of the panels will be built on about 3.2 acres on the south side of the power lines. The company plans to clear about 7.2 acres of trees for the farm, with some panels assembled on land that has already been cleared. The project will also require a wetlands permit and a sedi- ment control plan from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. Chairman Robert Najarian raised concerns about the access road to the property, a concern that was shared by Planning Board members when the company received their preliminary approval in July. The road switchbacks from Greenville Road to the solar farm site about 420 feet above road level, with the steep grade and tight turns presenting a possible difficulty for first responder vehicles, according to Najarian. Company representatives said they planned to redesign the entryway during the next phase of engineer- ing and address the concerns before receiving their final approval for the project. The board required written approval of the redesign from police and fire as a condition of the project approval. Though the project is located in a rural residential zoning district, with the closest resident about 700 feet away, Najarian noted that the proj- ect is consistent with other uses in the area. National Grid power lines already run through the property, and a much larger solar project has been planned by Green Development for a neighboring property. The project requires final approval from the Planning Board before beginning construction. Scott Milnes, CEO of Econox, said that if all goes according to plan, the company hopes to begin construction later this year. Construction will take about four months, with the project expect- ed to go online by next spring. Econox solar farm clears zoning hurdle By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com EZOVSKI North Smithfield Athletic Association hosts beer and wine fundraiser NORTH SMITHFIELD – The North Smithfield Athletic Association will hold a beer and wine tasting fundraiser on Friday, Sept. 27, from 7 to 10 p.m., at Village Haven Restaurant, 90 School St. The event will include appetiz- ers, raffle baskets and a silent auc- tion. Tickets are $25 per person. Attendees must be 21 or older. To purchase tickets, contact Kate Dubois at duboiskatharine@gmail. com. Tickets will also be available at the door for $30 per person. Here are a few additions to our September Birthday Club: SEPT. 14 Lilah Nichols, Happy 9th Birthday! Love, Grandpa Bill SEPT. 28 Nicholas A. Acciardo, Happy 17th Birthday! Love you, Grandmama and PaPa XOXO SEPT. 30 Happy Birthday, Terrie Reis, from Woody and Sophie! BIRTHDAY CLUB Cub Scout Pack 7 holding Rally Day NORTH SMITHFIELD – Cub Scout Pack 7 will hold a Rally Day on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 1 to 5 p.m., at Scouters Hall, 32 North Main St. The event will feature STEM activities and games for the whole family. Learn more about what Cub Scouts has to offer boys and girls entering grades K–5. Register for the 2019-2020 scouting year. Activities include: building a sailboat to race in the Raingutter Regatta; test the strength of a gum- drop dome; participate in an egg drop competition; race a chemical reaction car and more. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/pack- 7slatersville/ or email pack7info@ gmail.com . IN BRIEF

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