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Andover okays solar power, cell tower

  • Residents attend town meeting at Andover Elementary school in Andover on Tuesday. LOLA DUFFORT / Monitor staff

  • Residents attend town meeting at Andover Elementary school in Andover on Tuesday. LOLA DUFFORT / Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Solar panels will soon hang on the Andover town office roof.

By voice vote, residents approved a 20-year lease agreement with the Portland, Maine-based company Revision Energy at the town’s annual meeting on Monday for the panels.

Installing the project will be tax-neutral for the town, energy committee member Randall Costa told voters, and is expected to save Andover $50,000 in energy costs over the 25-year life of the panels. Other towns in the state, including Hopkinton, had signed on to similar projects with the same company and reported great results, Costa said.

“We’re putting this forward only because we believe it’s a win for the town; we’re taking the full range of costs and risks into account,” Costa said.

But not everyone agreed. Jeffery Dickinson, another member of the energy committee, said he worked in renewable energy and didn’t think the plan put forward by Revision was that advantageous to the town.

“In the 10- to 25-year period, there are a lot of additional costs that come along that make the numbers being proposed here to be marginal in terms of the savings to the town. We may – if all goes well – we may save some money. We could very well not,” he said.

Residents okayed another energy upgrade, green-lighting a plan to spend $15,000 on a new heat pump system in the town office and library building using reserve funds.

Residents also approved a revised noise ordinance Monday night after defeating one last year.

Select board Chairwoman Vicky Mishcon said the ordinance was a common-sense proposal, that, by delineating certain penalties, made the rules already on the books actually enforceable.

“We feel like we came up with a really good noise ordinance that’s suitable for Andover,” she said.

Some, though, argued the ordinance just wasn’t needed.

“I haven’t talked to anybody that’s made a complaint,” resident Becky Dobretz said.

The item passed 70-62 in a floor vote – and then again, 71-58, after a requested recount.

Residents also weighed in on a proposal by Verizon to lease town land by the transfer station for a cell tower, approving the measure by voice vote. The plan, which could bring the town more than $700,000 in rent over the life of the agreement, will next go to the planning, zoning and conservation boards for consideration and approval.

The solar panels, noise ordinance, and cell tower drew the most discussion out of all the articles on the warrant this year. The town’s $1.64 million operating budget passed unanimously in a voice vote following little discussion.

The budget, up about $24,000 from last year, is estimated to require a 10-cent increase on the tax rate.

Voters also approved an expanded tax credit for veterans.

(Lola Duffort can be reached at 369-3321 or lduffort@cmonitor.com.)