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Help Us Do Solar Right

☑️ You voted in the moratorium.

☑️ The Planning Board developed a stop gap measure to prohibit ALL land uses not expressly covered in the Zoning Ordinance

☑️ Our Eden Association researched and presented an amendment specific to solar uses, reflecting your view of what is right for Lovell

☑️ On 4/2 you voted in the Solar Ordinance 201 to 30!!

We are strong supporters of solar energy done responsibly…

Who We Are

We are a growing group of local volunteers, taking on this Big Industrial Solar battle to preserve the rural charm, scenic beauty, environmental integrity, and  character that define Lovell.

Board Members

  • David Patterson
  • Tom McLaughlin
  • Ann Prescott
  • Erin Kenneally
  • Lisabeth Bender
  • David Morine
  • Howard Corwin
  • Timothy Cyr
  • Paul Denis
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Our Eden Association (OEA) is a Maine non-profit corporation that was formed by full-year and part-year residents. OEA sprang into action when it learned the magnitude and scope of a proposed 181-acre industrial solar project to be developed at and near Christian Hill Rd. and Shave Hill Rd. That project would have cut over 10,000 mature trees and intruded on the Kezar Lake watershed, harming the town and the quality of life it affords all who live and visit here.

On January 25, the citizens of the town gathered at the Fire Barn to adopt by an overwhelming 243-50 margin a moratorium on large-scale solar projects. While the moratorium temporarily prevents that big solar project from moving forward, it also gives us time to address solar energy in the Town Ordinances. Lovell citizens want to control how solar is developed in Lovell. The moratorium gives us the time to adopt a solar ordinance and Do Solar Right.

On February 2, the Planning Board unanimously approved a stop gap measure that would prohibit ALL land uses not expressly permitted in the Zoning Ordinance. They sent the stop gap measure to the Select Board for inclusion on the warrant for the March 5 Town Meeting. While this is a good idea because it will put an end to judging new land uses according to the “next closest” land use code, it is not a solar ordinance. The solar ordinance will be offered to voters at a special town meeting AFTER the March 5 annual town meeting. Please stay tuned for the date and time. It is crucial that voters turn out for that meeting the way we did for the moratorium meeting and vote. (Proposed Special Town Meeting is April 2nd at 9am. The website will be updated once confirmed.)

Meanwhile, OEA conducted exhaustive research to develop an amendment expressly dealing with solar. Hundreds of towns have written ordinances for this new land use in recent years. The OEA solar amendment blended the best models from towns as close-by as Denmark and, with your input, customized them to fit the needs of Lovell. Special provisions were made to facilitate solar for personal, business and municipal use within Lovell, as distinguished from industrial solar projects selling power outside of town.

You, the voters, not some outside interests, will determine how solar is to be brought to Lovell.

  • Personal Scale Solar Energy Systems – Minor may have total panel area of up to 1200 square feet, more than enough to power the average home in Maine.
  • Personal Scale Solar Energy Systems – Major may have total panel area of up to 21,780 square feet (the equivalent of half an acre), sufficient to power business and municipal uses in Lovell.
    • When mounted on walls or roofs, PSSES, whether Minor or Major, are permitted in every district and subject to minimal performance standards. Ground mounted PSSES are subject to the same minimal performance standards as wall or roof mounted PSSES, except that they are prohibited in the Resource Protection, Shoreland Limited Residential, Stream Protection and Aquifer Protection Overlay Districts.
  • Large-Scale Solar Energy Systems may have total panel area of less than 10 acres on any one lot and may be the subject of conditional use applications if sited in the Commercial-Industrial district. LSSES are not permitted in other districts.
  • The OEA solar amendment was presented to the Select Board and the Planning Board by petition of over 200 registered voters and will be subject to town vote which is expected to occur at a special town meeting in early April. Please stay tuned for confirmation of the date.
The proposed Lovell Solar Ordinance would allow Large Scale Solar Energy Systems (LSSES) in the Commercial Industrial Zone, which is shown below in red. Note: any LSSES under the ordinance would be less than 10 acres, and subject to several strict protections for Lovell’s rural character. 

Planning Board Stop Gap Measure

  • Puts Lovell, rather than outsiders, in control of how and when to allow land uses not expressly covered in the Zoning Ordinance
  • Allows for orderly and systematic consideration of the terms on which to allow new land uses
  • Empowers all citizens with an opportunity to be heard

Solar Amendment

  • Reflects the experience of other towns, the views of Lovell residents, and expert analysis as to how to Do Solar Right
  • Facilitates solar for personal, business and municipal use within Lovell, as distinguished from industrial solar projects selling power outside of town
  • Strikes the right balance by finding the right place for industrial solar in Lovell
  • Preserves the scenic rural beauty, environmental integrity and character of Lovell

Why We Care

We were shocked to learn about the industrial solar development proposed by a Delaware LLC that would radically altered the rural charm, scenic beauty, environmental integrity, and character that define Lovell. Like so many Maine towns before us, we did not have adequate zoning to do solar right.

  • Solar should be encouraged and easily approved for on-premises use.
  • Solar should not be so massive that it desecrates pristine forest and wetlands in the name of saving the planet.
  • Solar should not endanger wildlife, compromise historic scenic views, and have potentially catastrophic environmental impacts to Kezar Lake.
  • Solar’s positive benefits must exceed solar’s negative impacts.
  • We have the knowledge and we have the right to self-govern, to maintain local control as we grapple with new and potentially impactful land uses.
Donate
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  • A quick, non-tax-deductible donations may be made by check made out to Our Eden Association
  • A potentially tax-deductible check made out to LandCAN
Participate
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Upcoming Meetings:
  • Currently no special dates, but stay involved with the weekly Select Board Meetings and the Monthly Planning Board Meetings
Contact
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Contacting our Elected Officials is one of the most important things you can do. Don’t let big industrial business define who we are!

Direct contributions to Our Eden Association are not tax deductible.  Our Eden Association has an affiliation with LandCAN (Land Conservation Assistance Network), a 501(c)(3) corporation to which tax deductible contributions may be made in accordance with LandCAN’s rules and policies.  LandCAN has agreed to assist Our Eden Association.  Tax deductible contributions may be made to LandCAN with a memo/note that references “Land Conservation Projects in Lovell” and mail to: LandCAN, 106 Lafayette St., Suite 3G, Yarmouth, ME 04096.  For questions of LandCAN regarding your check donation, please contact Jesse at (207) 847-0589.

Tax-Deductible Gifts

For individuals, foundations, corporations, etc. who itemize their donations and would prefer to make the charitable donation to a 501 (c) (3) organization, we have been fortunate to establish a relationship with the Land Conservation Network (LandCAN), a national land-conservation organization, who has agreed to assist Our Eden and has set up a specific account to collect our tax-deductible donations.

Please make your check out to: LandCAN with a memo/note that references “Land Conservation Projects in Lovell.” Then mail to: LandCAN, 106 Lafayette St., Suite 3G, Yarmouth, ME 04096.

For questions regarding your check donation, please contact Jesse at (207) 847-0589

Contact Town Officials

Let them know you support Doing Solar Right, and that you’ll be voting YES at both Town Meetings

Contact Both the Planning Board and Select Board at:

https://www.lovellmaine.org/home/webforms/contact-us

Frequently Asked Questions

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Isn’t Walden putting 80 acres of the industrial plan into long-term conservation in an easement near the Kezar Lower Bay Reserve?
Much of the land they refer to as being conserved is already protected because it is wetlands. Walden has no use for this land, which is separated into many small pieces; it will have little additional recreational or conservation value.
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Is this project really that big?
The proposed project is out of scale for Lovell. Walden has proposed clear cutting nearly 200 acres of live forest to install over 7 million square feet of panels. It will span both sides of Shave Hill Rd (Swamp Road) and run all the way down Christian Hill Road to Route 5 where it will cross at the elementary school and connect to the substation in Sweden on Smarts Hill Rd. It will also be within 1500 feet of the Lower Bay. To try and put this in perspective, the Maine Mall and surrounding parking lots is 90 acres, so this would be twice the size! Or, take the largest structure in the region, the Walmart Super Center in North Conway NH at 168,800 square feet. This industrial solar site would be more than 46 times that size!
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Walden and their people are so down to earth and friendly, should I believe them?
They are paid to be nice and friendly. Do you honestly think they would tell you if they were really just in this for the money?
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Will this project really generate enough local electricity to benefit 9,500 Maine homes each year?
It is possible that it might benefit 0.007% of the total homes in Maine, but Walden does not promise that any of these homes are in Lovell. The electricity collected from this industrial complex will be sold directly to Central Maine Power to disperse however and to whomever they choose.
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Won’t this project reduce our electricity costs?
Just because Walden says they plan to sell the electricity to CMP at a reduced rate does not mean that CMP will simply pass that discount along to the you, the consumer. They will charge you whatever they want for the electricity and the delivery of that electricity. Rates are rising, look at your electric bill.
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They say there will be over $1.6M for job-training programs over the project life, is this true?
It depends. Walden needs to hire and train more skilled employees for all of their industrial solar facilities anyway. The $28,000 in scholarships are based in Fairfield, Maine and benefit their employee pipeline only.
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This project is supposed to promote a clean, healthy, domestic, secure economy, right?
No. This project will very likely be sold by Walden to another foreign, billion-dollar, industrial giant as they have done in Fryeburg and countless other locations. Overseas financiers will want to see a quick return on their investment. We expect that as soon as this project is completed they will sell of their project to other companies.
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What is the Town getting out of this?
Walden says we will receive guaranteed tax and community benefit payments of over $147,000 (escalating at 2% each year.) However, all told over the projected 40 years, it is only $8.8M; a figure hardly worth degrading and dividing our town over. And, if you add inflation to that amount, the actual value of that money is really hardly anything of value. The bottom line is, is there any dollar amount worthy of destroying what has made Lovell the the unique and wonderful community it is known to be? We think not.
Contact your State & Local Officials!
Let Lovell Decide Stephen Goldsmith
Stephen Goldsmith
Lovell Town Selectman
Heinrich Wurm
Heinrich Wurm
Planning Board Chairman
Lisa Keim
Lisa Keim
State Senator
(R-Oxford County)
rep frances m head
Frances M. Head
State Representative
( R – Bethel )
Let Lovell Decide Nate Wadsworth
Nate Wadsworth
State Representative
(R-Hiram)
Energy, Utilities & Technology, Ranking Member

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