Planning Board Minutes
November 9, 2021
PRESENT: David Paterniti – Chairman Janet Briggs
Absent: Robert Whitman
PRESENT: Attorney Joel Seachrist
Chairman David Paterniti called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.
Chairman Paterniti asked the board if they had reviewed the final Planning Board report on the ECOsponsible, LLC Large-Scale Solar Energy Baker Street Project application. Planning Board members present all acknowledged they reviewed the report and agreed with its content as presented below.
Large-Scale Solar Energy Project Report
Town of Busti Planning Board
Busti Solar Project – Baker Street
Applicant: ECOsponsible, LLC
- Application Description and Type of Solar project: Per the applicant, “ECOsponsible, LLC (“ECO”) and its partners Dyna Solar Development Corporation (together, “Busti Solar” Project), is planning to build and operate up to a 10.0 megawatts alternating current (MWAC) solar electricity generation facility on Baker Street in the Town of Busti, Chautauqua County, New York (“The Project”). The proposed project is located on land zoned Industrial located west of Big Tree Road (County Route 315) and bounded on the south by Baker St. (County Route 332). Solar panels are being considered for placement on the North West Corner of the land parcels. ECOsponsible is currently under contract to purchase the land from its current owner, Southern Tier Beverages, Inc.”
The project will be situated on approximately 37 acres of a 107 acre site.
Per the Town of Busti Solar Energy Systems law, this is a large-scale solar energy project.
- Application Requirements: See the attached application checklist.
The project application materials/requirements appear to be met, except as follows:
- The project appears to about a County/NYS Ag district and, therefore, should require an Agricultural Data Statement in accordance with AGM Section 305-b. The applicant has provided a statement and map indicating no abutting County Ag district properties. We have confirmed no abutting Ag district parcels (see map).
- The project also requires County Referral in accordance with General Municipal Law §239-n.
- There are some missing materials (see checklist); the PB/TB to determine need for these materials. New materials were submitted on 10/1/21 and 10/14/21.
- Zoning Analysis: See the application checklist.
The project appears to meet the “bulk” zoning requirements (setbacks, property size, etc.) for a “large” solar energy project and for the other requirements, except as follows:
- Setback to Baker Street may not be met (applicant to show on plan).
- Need height of the panels (10 foot is allowable).
- Other Requirements (SUP and other law requirements): See attached checklist.
The project meets these requirements except as follows: Some additional information is needed to address the questions raised and meet SUP requirements. Applicant has stated that some additional information can be supplied once the project approvals are further along.
- Public and PB Comments
Summary of Public Comments:
None to date
Summary of Planning Board Comments:
- Removal of too much vegetation
- Any plantings or landscaping needed for screening
- Residential properties along Baker Street
- SEQR Issues (Type I SEQR action):
The Town Board has not yet conducted a SEQR coordinated review.
Recommendation: Based on a PB draft completion of part 2 of the FEAF (TB will make official decision), a part 3 draft analysis and review of the materials submitted by the applicant, the PB has reached the following conclusion concerning SEQR issues:
A Negative Declaration is warranted, provided the Town Board impose certain conditions detailed below.
- Site Plan Review Comments:
The Planning Board has concerns about the removal of large, wooded areas, views from Baker Street, and erosion and sediment control/stormwater impacts due to removal of the wooded areas.
- Planning Board Report & Recommendation:
The Planning Board, based on its review of the project and materials submitted by the applicant, and input from Town residents, other agencies, and the Town’s consultants, makes the following recommendation to the Town Board:
See the attached draft Part 2 and 3 (analysis). The Town Board can use this information in its SEQR decision. Based on the Planning Board’s review, we would recommend a Negative Declaration.
- Large-Scale Solar System SUP Recommendation:
The Planning Board recommends that the Town Board approve the Special Use Permit application with conditions.
- Final Recommended Conditions:
The Planning Board will recommend the following conditions for the SUP if granted:
a Submission of a final site plan to the PB.
- Installation of landscaping at the entrance on Baker Street, with a guarantee of these plantings for 10 years.
- Require all barriers around the project area including fencing and trees be maintained throughout the life of the project.
- An agreement concerning the protection of the existing trees on the 107-acre site outside the 37-acre solar area. If substantial trees are removed and the site becomes visible, a mitigation plan with additional landscaping will need to be approved by the PB.
- Appropriate disturbance limits be established in the final site plan.
- All of the other pre-construction requirements of the Town’s solar law.
- Final appropriate decommissioning plan approved, decommissioning bond, etc.
- Prohibition on use of pesticides and herbicides on the 107 acre site.
- Use of DEC-recommended grasses for planting under the panels.
- Limit the use of lighting in general but particularly systems that are triggered by motion sensors.
- The Town Board should consider requiring the applicant to submit further information from an engineer comparing the amount of stormwater runoff entering the drainage swale from the proposed panels and landscaping features as compared to the existing slopes and vegetation.
- If the owner of the solar project or the owner of the property changes, the special use permit shall remain in effect, provided that the successor owner or operator assumes in writing all of the obligations of the special use permit, site plan approval, and decommissioning plan.
Chairman Dave Paterniti moved the following resolution which was duly moved by Janet Briggs.
Town of BUSTI PLANNING Board
November 9, 2021
RECOMMENDATION TO TOWN BOARD
WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 405-48 of the Town of Busti Zoning Code, the Town Board has referred to the Planning Board the application of ECOsponsible, LLC for site plan review and a report and recommendation, and
WHEREAS, the Planning Board has thoroughly reviewed the application, required the applicant to supplement and amend the application as necessary to better comport with the Zoning Code’s requirements for a special use permit, and held a public hearing spread over several dates, all with the assistance of the Town’s consulting engineer, and
WHEREAS, the Planning Board has determined that while there are some environmental issues that will need to be addressed with reasonable conditions to the Special Use Permit that approval of the application is justified;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT
RESOLVED, the Planning Board hereby adopts and issues to the Town Board the attached “Large-Scale Solar Energy Project Report” dated November 8, 2021, which recommends approval of the ECOsponsible project and further recommends certain conditions that the Town Board should consider placing on the Special Use Permit.
All in favor, no nays. Carried
Chairman Paterniti asked Clerk Nygren to inform the Planning Board when the Town Board has the ECOsponsible, LLC application on their meeting agenda.
Linda Anderson moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:37 p.m.; duly moved by Diane VanDewark.
Darlene H, Nygren