Solar company lets option expire for former Byron Brook property in Norwich

Aurora Solar LLC's option has expired for 271.51 acres woodland and farmland of the former Byron Brook Country Club property on Scotland Road, Lawler Lane and  Canterbury Turnpike in Norwich.
Aurora Solar LLC's option has expired for 271.51 acres woodland and farmland of the former Byron Brook Country Club property on Scotland Road, Lawler Lane and  Canterbury Turnpike in Norwich.

Norwich — A Portland, Ore.-based solar company that held an option on the 271.51-acre former Byron Brook Country Club property in rural Occum allowed the option to expire Friday, a company spokesman said.

“We are constantly evaluating different renewable projects in various stages of our development pipeline across the country in order to move forward with the projects that make the most sense for us and our customers,” said Paul Copleman, communications manager for Avangrid Renewables, parent company of Aurora Solar, which filed the option on the property in January.

The property comprises several large tracts of land, including the former Tarryk and DoLittle farms on Canterbury Turnpike and Lawler Lane. The property has been for sale since the defunct Byron Brook Country Club plan for a luxury golf course and residential resort was withdrawn in 2011.

The solar company’s option, however, did not include another 64 acres of land owned by the Byron Brook developers under the name M+A Holdings LLC in the so-called Occum Triangle off Route 97. Much of that land is zoned for commercial development.

“We’ll explore all options,” Byron Brook representative Robert Arnone said Friday. “We hope to entice interest that will benefit the community.”

City officials were not high on the prospects of seeing the vast tracts of land be converted into solar arrays. Norwich Community Development Corp. President Robert Mills said perhaps the best use of the land would be as farmland but said he realized the owners would seek buyers who are potential developers.

NCDC decades ago had hoped to convert the former Tarryk Farm into a second city business park.

Mills said NCDC and city officials will work with the Byron Brook owners to find “the highest and best use” for the property that also would be “an agreeable plan” for the Norwich community.

Mills said the effort would have to involve the city, the state for access to the land, which abuts Interstate 395, the property owners and any potential investors.

c.bessette@theday.com

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