NEW SHARON — By a vote of  381-214, voters Tuesday approved the New Sharon Solar Energy Systems Ordinance.

The ordinance is a means to regulate commercial solar energy systems in New Sharon. Commercial solar energy systems — small, medium and large scale — can already set up shop in town, with or without the ordinance. However, Town Clerk Pamela Adamsclarified that this ordinance directly addresses the appropriate uses for solar energy and creates “boundaries and limits” for the kinds of permits the town can approve.

The ordinance does not apply to residential solar energy systems and, as a result, they are exempt from needing approval or permitting.

The ordinance is for solar only, a change from one first proposed on Sept. 15, 2020, that would have covered all energy systems. Action on that ordinance was tabled when new information was received the day prior to the special meeting.

“This is a totally different ordinance (from the general energy-systems ordinance),” Code Enforcement Officer Jon Arnold said Thursday. “We broke it down, made it more feasible, more basic.”

Things such as setbacks, right of ways, lot coverage, and other items were changed in this ordinance, he said.

New Sharon voter Michelle Winslow said she was on the fence about voting to approve the ordinance, however ultimately choosing “yes” to create some regulations.

“The ordinance is good to have in place because we already have (construction of) solar farms going on in town,” Winslow said.

The ordinance takes effect immediately.

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