Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 11-14-2019

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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2 NORTH SMITHFIELD NOVEMBER 14-20, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION NORTH SMITHFIELD – Despite vigorous protests from neighbors, a 900-kilowatt solar project is moving forward off Douglas Pike after the Zoning Board signed off on the proj- ect this week. On Tuesday, the board voted 5-0 to grant Sergio DeCurtis, owner of the property at 2361 Providence Pike, a special use permit to build a solar farm between Douglas and Providence Pikes. The panels will take up 3.17 acres on a 12.3-acre subdivided lot, and require the clearing of approximately 5 acres of trees. "This is the future of where we're going as a country, and it's really something I think we should embrace," DeCurtis told Zoning Board members. The project drew strong opposi- tion from neighbors who raised concerns on its impact to abutting properties. Nicole Waybright, a Smithfield resident who lives just over the town line from the project, told board members she didn't think the project was appropriate for a quiet, residential district. "What the applicant is asking for is to put a full-scale, for-profit busi- ness in the middle of that area," she said. Waybright submitted a letter signed by the owners of five abut- ting properties who were opposed to the project, including Laurie and Kirk Magnussen of Providence Pike. Kirk raised questions about a proposed electricity conduit line that was originally planned for a dif- ferent route but was later rerouted to avoid a historic cemetery on DeCurtis' property. The new route, he told the board, would rest within 10 feet of a well on his property, presenting serious concerns. "I'm terrified that it's going to pol- lute my water," he said. Zoning Board Chairman Robert Najarian requested that the devel- oper address the well issue at a future point, but he also cautioned residents that the board was limited in its oversight. Many of their con- cerns, he said, would be addressed by other agencies, including the Planning Board and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, who still have to grant their final approval. The Zoning Board, he said, was only able to rule on whether the project met the cri- teria for a special use permit, which Douglas Pike solar farm gets green light despite pushback By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com See SOLAR, Page 13

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