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Sunderland to decide on solar farm land lease

— On Jan. 16, residents will vote to lease land for the installation of a solar farm at the Sunderland Elementary School and public safety complex in addition to four other articles dealing with money transfers and funding.

Broadway Electrical Co. of Boston has proposed installing a solar array that would generate 193,966 kilowatt hours annually on 0.62 acres at the elementary school on Swampfield Drive. Broadway proposed a second solar array that can produce 481,034 kilowatt hours annually on 2.37 acres behind the public safety complex on River Road.

Last April, the town opened the doors to a solar farm after it approved a new bylaw. The bylaw requires a special permit and a site plan review for arrays over 1,000 square feet and places a height limit of 15 feet. Roofmounted solar arrays and groundmounted arrays under 1,000 square feet are allowed by right.

According to the meeting agenda, residents will also be asked to vote to transfer $7,500 for legal and consulting services associated with the solar installations at the school and public safety complex.

Other monetary votes includes $30,000 for the Hadley Road culvert reconstruction. This also would rescind a vote at last year’s annual town meeting, which authorized the town treasurer to borrow $140,000 for reconstruction of the culvert.

Town Administrator Margaret Nartowicz explained, “the town authorized borrowing for the project, but the actual costs came in lower than anticipated so we’re looking to fund the project from available funds and rescind the borrowing authorization.” Residents would also vote to allow the selectmen to seek special legislation to allow the town’s call firefighter, Richard E. Dickinson, to serve until he is 70 years old or until his retirement.

State law requires firefighters to retire at 65.

The town meeting will take place at the Sunderland Elementary School at 7 p.m.

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