Planning Board receives hydrology report on Fearing Hill solar project

May 23, 2022

One of the big concerns Fearing Hill residents have raised regarding a planned solar array is how the project would affect storm runoff near their homes. Now an engineering firm has released a hydrogeology report examining the possibility of increased groundwater levels from the project — and possible solutions.

The report was finished late afternoon on Friday after six months of work, said Joe Shanahan, a developer for the solar project at 91 and 101 Fearing Hill Road, at Monday night’s Planning Board meeting.

As the board had just one weekday to view the plan, Shanahan said he understood continuing the public hearing to allow members time to digest the technical 66-page report.

One solution proposed by the developers, consultant engineer Rich Tabaczynski said, is the addition of a few stormwater basins on the northeast and southwest sides of the property.

The basins would then release water at a slower rate, closer to the pre-project existing conditions.

Board members continued the project’s public hearing to June 13. The hydrogeology report can be found on the town’s website.

A few members of the public took time during the hearing to share their concerns over the project, which would see the creation of about 20 acres of solar field.

Fearing Hill resident Annie Hayes spoke about her worries that the solar project would affect the quality of local well water, not just increase the amount of stormwater runoff.

“It’s pure, great water,” Hayes said of her current water. “That watershed carries those nutrients all through the land.”