Planning Board Minutes
June 23, 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, Michelle McIntyre, Jennifer and Skyler Applebee, Diane Terrano, Kim Greyber, Judy Greyber, James Johnson, Cole Smith, Amy Peterson, Michael Prinzi, Curtis Widen, and Kerry Widen.
Chairman David Paterniti called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m. and asked Nathan Rizzo to give an overview of the proposed project and an update on the site design.
Mr. Rizzo stated the array is shifted slightly from South Main Street, allowing some of the vegetation to act as a buffer, the access roads are showing different easements across those access roads, updated fencing, and the tie in point to the utility. The array footprint has been reduced, the original plan was using 360 watt solar panels the new plan is using 400 watt solar panels. This plan takes into account the location of the gas well.
Engineering Consultant, Drew Reilly stated DEC had submitted a letter regarding the Town of Busti’s request for SEQR Lead Agency for the said project. DEC advised it will be necessary to determine whether the well is functional or has been appropriately plugged for public safety purposes. DEC will schedule a site inspection to determine whether there may be any problems related to the well.
Chairman Paterniti stated in accordance with the Town of Busti’s Solar Energy Systems Law, Section 405-48.1 A (5) (b) , the Town has hired Wendel to assist the Town with review of this large-scale solar project, at Solar Liberty’s expense, and introduced Wendel Engineer Consultant, Drew Reilly. Mr. Paterniti noted the application has been progressing forward since the last meeting, there have been a lot of behind-the-scenes work done.
Mr. Reilly explained he reviewed Town of Busti’s Solar Law for Large Scale Solar Systems and created a checklist, according to the town law, and a summary document pertaining to the Solar Liberty Large-Scale Energy System application (see attached). He noted by law the Town Board will make the final decision on the application, following a recommendation and report from the Planning Board, even if the Planning Board does not recommend the project, they should include conditions on the project if the Town Board allows the application to move forward. Any action by Town Board will require a SEQR decision. We have done a review under the SEQR law and received comments back from NYS DEC. Mr. Reilly noted Part 1 of the FEAF is completed by the applicant; he completed Part 2 and not this part is a great way to say “did we think of all of the potential impacts of the project”. He started Part 3 which will be completed by the Town Board, which is based on the information from Part 2, and they will have to decide if any of the impacts are significant or not. He, also, started a report for the Planning Board to complete that will be submitted to the Town Board with a summary of all public comments, a section on SEQR, and there is a place for any other comments and conditions recommended from the Planning Board. He noted that a letter of notice of the project should be sent to any neighboring municipalities.
Mr. Reilly then reviewed each item on the checklist and the summary.
Attorney Joel Seachrist asked if Solar Liberty had informed the fire department of the change in access roads. He recommended there be another correspondence sent to the fire department. Attorney Seachrist inquired to what type of vegetation would be used in the screen. Mr. Rizzo stated it would be Baby Giant Arborvitae. Mr. Reilly recommended they “zig zag” trees intermixed with the arborvitae.
Mr. Reilly asked that Solar Liberty contact NYS DEC regarding the gas well and to send the Planning Board any correspondence to or from NYS DEC.
There was a question regarding the maintenance plan – Mr. Rizzo stated there will be 2 to 3 mowings per year which will include whipping. The grass will be cut 6 – 8” above surface. Any trees removed would be cut to grade and the logs and brush will be taken off site.
Mr. Reilly recommended Solar Liberty present a plan of the maintenance of trees and replacement of any dead or diseased trees.
Mr. Reilly then reviewed the FEAF Part 1, 2, and 3. He noted # 14 of Part 2 should be checked yes.
There was discussion on the impact this project could have on other proposed Large-Scale Solar Array projects in the town. Mr. Reilly noted the Town Board could request a NYSERDA Capacity Analysis.
Mr. Reilly recommended the Town Board start discussion with the IDA regarding any Pilot Program.
Chairman Paterniti recommended the Planning Board members review the information they received tonight and submit any questions or concerns to Town Clerk Nygren, who will forward them to the whole Planning Board, Attorney Seachrist, and Mr. Reilly.
The board agreed to set the next meeting for Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.
Chairman Paterniti moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:43 p.m.; duly moved by Robert Whitman.
Darlene H. Nygren