ADAMS -- A developer proposing a 1.5 megawatt solar array on East Road has agreed to finance an independent study of the plans at the request of nearby residents.
Seth Ginsberg, of Alford's Apis Energy Group, said at a Planning Board meeting Monday night that engineering company Tighe & Bond has been chosen to perform the work.
It will consist of reviewing a stormwater management plan and environmental impact report already produced by engineers working with Apis.
"We agree going forward with the peer review," Ginsberg said at the meeting. " ... The presumption is that the [Planning Board] will have the results of the peer review from the consultant engineer [at the time of the next meeting]."
Apis aims to install 6,100 solar panels on 11.5 acres owned by the Loholdt family at 217 East Rd.
Members of the board set dates for two future meetings on the topic Monday. Ginsberg said determining the extent of the review is the board's responsibility.
The board scheduled a July 22 meeting where proposals for review work from Tighe & Bond will be examined and selected.
Building Inspector David Pelletier said these proposals will consist of the different review options, ranging from a basic review of the stormwater management plan and environmental impact report, to site visits, soil studies and more involved engineering work.
"[The extra steps] could be included if the board thinks they're warranted," said Chair David B. Rhinemiller.
"I would think to get a clearer picture they would need to go onto the property themselves," added board member Barbara Ziemba.
Anything the board stipulates would be subject to negotiation with Apis.
Residents of the road have attended past meetings on the solar installation plan in substantial numbers, expressing concerns about the proposal.
The two most prevalent are drainage -- East Road is a known for its flooding issues and residents fear a development could worsen the effect -- and the potential decline in property values that could result from such an installation -- what residents have called "an industrial solar field in a residential neighborhood."
Ginsberg said the company would sell power created by the project into the grid, resulting in lower energy bills for area individuals and municipalities.
Also on Monday, the board said it would make its determination on the project at its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m., on Aug. 26.
"All questions and concerns will be answered," said East Road resident Jeffrey Lefebvre at the meeting. "That's what I'm hoping for."
To reach Phil Demers,