Planning Board Minutes
August 31, 2021
PRESENT: David Paterniti – Chairman James Butler
Abesnt: Diane VanDewark
PRESENT: Attorney Joel Seachrist, Drew Reilly – Wendel Engineering, Michael Prinzi – Solar Liberty, Nathan Rizzo – Solar Liberty, Carrie Cosentino – Solar Liberty, Diane Terrano, Kim & Judy Greyber, Jennifer & Skyler Applebee, Kerry & Curtis Widen, and Eric Tichy – Post Journal.
Chairman David Paterniti called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m. and asked Nathan Rizzo to give an update on the proposed solar project on S. Main Street.
Mr. Rizzo distributed handouts to the Planning Board – SL Busti Visual Impact Statement; he used a slide presentation for the public’s view as he reviewed the packet. Included in the packet were a Facility Description, an Ariel View of the proposed site, Figures of the Solar Panels & Racking, the proposed Vegetation Buffers, Additional Photo Simulations – to further illustrate the existing vegetative screening concealing view of the system, Solar Liberty utilized street views in 6 locations, and Neighboring Homes Impact. Mr. Rizzo also reviewed the Landscaping Plan and Landscaping Detail. Discussion followed regarding the positioning and type of trees being planted for screening, as well as the number of trees that will be removed with the proposed project.
Mr. Reilly noted Solar Liberty will only have control of the screening in the leased portion of the property as it will be subdivided if the project moves forward.
Janet Briggs asked how often Solar Liberty would visit the site if the project was approved and if the fence will be installed entirely above ground? Mr. Rizzo stated the site would be visited twice a year for preventative maintenance and five times a year for vegetation control, throughout the spring and fall. The fence will be installed at ground level.
Mr. Reilly stated that a grading plan has not been submitting but it has been said that the only grading will be where the proposed roads will be put in; the arrays will match the topography of the land and should not disrupt the natural grade.
Bob Whitman noted that Solar Liberty would not have control over the screening discussed on neighboring properties as the various owners would have the right to alter their own landscaping.
Attorney Seachrist stated the town could require the applicant to obtain an easement on the adjoining property to plant the necessary foliage and a permanent maintenance of the foliage used for screening as determined in a Special Use Permit.
Mr. Rizzo stated that there is not a set area for the lease at this time; that will be determined as plans are being finalized, however, they could also request an easement for the cojoining property.
The property will be subdivided to have a separate piece of land for the lease.
Chairman Paternitti asked Mr. Reilly to review the application checklist, the Full Environmental Assessment Form – Part 2 – Identification of Potential Project Impacts, Part 3 SEQR Analysis, and the Large-Scale Solar Energy Project Report as of 8/30/21, including comments from the public and the Planning Board. This report will be finalized by the Planning Board and presented to the Town Board. Mr. Reilly included a sample Special Use Permit, with conditions, that could be used if the Town Board approved the project.
Mr. Reilly reviewed the Application Checklist and verified what documentation the applicant has submitted and what is still needed. The items that are still needed include an updated Landscape Plan – Erosion and Sediment Control Plan – determined by the altered location of the array; a real grading plan has not been submitted – the applicant has indicated little grading is being proposed; plan for clearing and/or grading the site – needs updated with the change in array location; SWPPP dated December 2020 does not represent most recent plan; Property and Maintenance plan does not address property maintenance; Decommissioning Plan – does this meet Town requirements? This should reference Ag and Markets standards, Not yet accepted – Town Attorney and Town Board need to determine; final determination of acres of trees being removed from site; glare analysis – does the use of vegetative screening provide sufficient glare screen; and Post Construction Requirements will be determined by the Town Board – included in Special Use Permit.
Mr. Reilly reviewed the FEAF Part 2 – #16 needs a final letter from DEC regarding the location of the plan site to the existing gas well.
Local residents made final comments on the proposed project:
Kim Greyber stated he sees the project as a disruption and totally out of character for the area where it will be located.
Diane Terrano stated there is a stocked pond and a fish creek on her property which is adjoining the proposed site. She also believes there are wetlands in the area.
Chairman Paterniti stated the Planning Board will review all the information provided in tonight’s meeting, submit their comments to the Town Attorney and Consulting Engineer, and develop a final recommendation statement.
The board agreed to set the next meeting for Monday, September 27, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. The board members should have their comments submitted to Attorney Seachrist and Mr. Reilly no later than Friday, September 17, 2021.
Bob Whitman moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:04 p.m.; duly moved by Janet Briggs.
Darlene H. Nygren