Tritec Americas moves forward with solar panel plans in Naugatuck, Beacon Falls

NAUGATUCK, CT — Naugatuck Zoning Commission Chairman Richard W. Cool (right) speaking along side commission member Thomas L. Kiernan during the vote for a proposed solar panel arrays at Town Hall on Feb. 16. ANDREAS YILMA

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — A solar energy company’s plan to build solar panel arrays in Naugatuck and Beacon Falls is moving forward after both municipal zoning commissions approved its applications.

California-based Tritec Americas, which provides solar photovoltaics project development, financing and asset management services for commercial and industrial solar markets, wants to build a 1 megawatt solar farm with about 3,000 solar panels on about 5 acres of undeveloped land in Naugatuck at 0 Bosco Drive. The land is zoned residential and owned by Curtis Bosco and Florence Justino.

Naugatuck Zoning Commission closed the hearing in January and voted 4-1 at its Feb. 16 meeting. Commission member Eileen M. Bronko voted against the approval.

The proposal calls for single-axis tracking panels that will follow the sun’s movements, a 12-foot-wide gravel access road around the site, two storm-water management systems, an standard galvanized fence and a buffer of evergreen trees that would be planted between residential properties according to Chris Gagnon, an engineer from BL Companies who is representing Tritec Americas.

The developers will have to get approval from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection because the project is over the five acre limit according to Public Works Director James Stewart, the acting borough engineer.

The solar panels are 140 feet away from the neighboring property and the fence is approximately 130 feet from the back residence at the closest point according to Zoning Enforcement officer Ed Carter.

“It is important that we have a decommissioning plan that we know about it and that there will be money to back to make sure that they’re removed,” Bronko said.

The lot coverage in their zoning regulations states that the size will be no more than 50% coverage and the proposed development came in at 13% coverage making it comply with regulations. The applicant is only using 5 acres of the just under 11 acre lot, Zoning Commission Chairman Richard Cool said.

The commission approved the application with 11 conditions including the DEEP approved decommission plan shall be submitted to the borough land use office before construction, the applicant shall investigate the feasibility of underground power lines from the utility equipment area to the new pole located near the gate for installation and the applicant shall submit quarterly project progress reports to the borough land use office until the project has been deemed completed

Another condition was that the DEEP approved decommission plan shall be submitted to the borough land use office before construction.

Cool said shortly after the meeting that the development is a good project for the future.

“I think the board is excited about the opportunity for solar,” Cool subsequently said.

The Beacon Falls Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the company’s special exception application in December with several conditions.

The company plans to build an approximately 0.75 megawatt solar panel array of about 2,025 solar panels at 343 Lopus Road. The land is in an Industrial Park District and owned by Terrance Murtha and June Rydzik. There is a home on the property. The proposal calls for demolishing the home and a shed on the property.

There has been little to no opposition to the project from residents.

The conditions include that the applicant shall provide dense planting of green giant Arborviates along the fence line adjacent to Lopus Road, the applicant is subject to roadway maintenance bond for the area from Pent Road intersection to 50 feet past the entrance of the project and an erosion and sediment control bond as well as the applicant is to provide the town engineer a revised trucking route plan due to weight restriction concerning the culvert crossing connecting Lopus Road to Old Pines Bridge Road, according to past meeting minutes.