GROTON -- The Planning Board voted to grant a special permit to the Groton Electric Light Department that will allow it to proceed with plans to lease land off Nate Nutting and Sandy Pond roads as sites for solar-power arrays.

Combined, the two properties come to 27 acres, of which a total of 11.5 acres are expected to be used for solar panels.

According to GELD manager Kevin Kelly, the plan calls for the land to be leased to a private contractor who would locate and maintain the solar panels and sell the power generated from them to GELD.

Kelly said that at peak energy use, power supplied by the array could provide up to 7 percent of customers' needs.

With concerns about emergency vehicle access to the sites eased by a letter from the fire chief, board members voted to approve the plan.

Approval, however, was conditioned on the assurance of GELD that access through the Sandy Pond Road site to nearby campgrounds be provided for local Boy Scouts.

The Planning Board was also to have conducted a public hearing on the New England Shirdi Sai Parivar (NESSP) temple, a project proposed for land along the Littleton town line.

With answers on a number of issues, including parking, lighting, interior traffic flow, temple routine, access for emergency vehicles, handicapped accessibility, drainage, traffic, water availability and blasting during the construction phase needed, board members had planned to hear more about the project at its March 20 meeting.


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But the applicant requested that the public hearing be postponed until April 3.

The proposed NESSP temple is to include a main building consisting of two floors that will meet the height requirement in the town's zoning bylaws and a trio of spires with a central spire rising to a height of at least 104 feet.

Expected to seat up to 500 people with parking for 337 vehicles, the temple is to be located on 29 acres and set amid formal gardens. Future plans call for construction of a second building to be used for social functions.