This week in the Buzz, it’s all big plans.

Let’s start with the $16 million one.

NexAmp Solar, LLC out of Boston is proposing a 5-megawatt, 17,874-panel solar array on 82 acres at 1115 Riverside Drive in Auburn.

A map submitted to the Auburn Planning Board depicting the location of NexAmp Solar’s proposed $16 million solar array project on Riverside Drive.

It’s the first application the city’s seen since adopting a new Ag-Zone solar ordinance, City Planner II Megan Norwood wrote in a staff memo to the planning board.

The project, named Auburn Renewables, according to its application, would affix tilted, non-rotating panels on 35 of the 82 acres and connect into an existing Central Maine Power Co. distribution line.

Nearly 17 acres of land would have to be cleared of trees, and long-term, sheep would graze under the panels to keep the grass down.

The project heads to the Auburn Planning Board for a vote on June 9. If approved, NexAmp plans to submit it in the first round of the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s competitive procurement process this summer.

If successful there, construction would likely start in the fall and the project would be live in the summer of 2021, according to the application.

Over in Lewiston

Raise-Op Cooperative Housing has plans for a new nine-unit building on Blake Street and asked the Lewiston Planning Board on Monday night about buying a city-owned 0.07-acre adjacent lot.

An artist’s rendering submitted to the Lewiston Planning Board of Raise-Op Cooperative Housing’s proposed nine-unit building at 188-194-198 Blake St.

The board unanimously supported the sale, according to David Hediger, the city’s director of planning and code enforcement.

Next, it goes to the Finance Committee on June 8 and City Council on June 16, when they’ll consider whether to sell 186 Blake St. and for how much.

Ideally, Raise-Op would like to pay $1. It’s assessed at $22,500.

Manager Craig Saddlemire told the board it would boost the group’s score in applying for a grant and loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston if they bought the land for $1.

Saddlemire said Tuesday that plans for the building at 188-194-198 Blake St. are still early in the process. It would have three market-rate units and six affordable units.

“Depending on how long it takes us to assemble the financial resources, construction could begin as soon as spring 2021 or as late as summer 2022, and the construction period we estimate will take 10 months,” he said.

Raise-Op currently owns and operates three apartment buildings and 15 apartments that are home to 50 residents.

And back to Auburn

Less than two months after Mystique Way LLC got Auburn Planning Board approval to build a total of 19 buildings at its cannabis business park off Minot Avenue, it’s coming back next week with a new request.

The developer is looking to break up those buildings, now pared down to 18, into 10 condominium units.

“Each ‘unit’ contains a building or building(s) and the area surrounding the buildings,” said Norwood. “The main advantage for the applicant is to be able to sell the 10 unit areas separately rather than having the entire development be commonly owned.”

In an application to the board, a representative for Mystique said the request is coming in response to “significant interest in many of the proposed units from potential purchasers in the cannabis industry who are interested in locating their operations within the development. The city stands to benefit both from attracting cannabis businesses and also in grouping them together, as appears will naturally occur within this development.”

This Buzz was updated at 9:53 a.m.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or [email protected]


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