Planning Board Minutes
October 21, 2021
PRESENT: David Paterniti – Chairman Janet Briggs
PRESENT: Attorney Joel Seachrist, Drew Reilly–Wendel Engineering, Dennis Ryan– ECOsponsible, Town of Busti Supervisor Jesse Robbins, John Jablonski, Greg Edwards
Chairman David Paterniti called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.
John Jablonski, representing Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, presented information on a booklet developed by the Conservancy and the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development. The Chautauqua Lake Stormwater Toolkit, containing contact information for New York State DEC and local municipalities and showing best practices for stormwater management control, is a reference guide local towns and villages can provide to developers.
Dennis Ryan of ECOsponsible gave an update on two issues regarding the proposed solar project on Baker Street Ext. that were discussed at the previous meeting regarding. He confirmed that the project is not within 500 feet of an agriculture district, so no agricultural data statement is required, and he provided information on the types and condition of trees on the property by way of the grading plan and photos/video.
Drew Reilly, engineering consultant for Wendel, reviewed the following documents:
- 405-48.1 Solar energy systems.
Large-Scale Solar energy systems Checklist.
PROJECT: Busti 2 – ECOsponsible
(a) The requirements of this section shall apply to all solar energy systems installed or modified after the effective date of the local law by which it was adopted, excluding general maintenance and repair.
(b) All solar energy systems shall be designed, erected, and installed or modified in accordance with all applicable codes, regulations and industry standards as referenced in the New York State Building Code and the Town Code as well as the National Electrical Code (NEC), National Fire Protection Code 70 (NFPA 70), and local regulations.
(c) Under SEQRA regulations, actions are classified as Type I, Type II, or Unlisted actions. Type II actions are exempt from review and include actions such as the construction, expansion or placement of minor or accessory structures. The Town of Busti considers building-integrated solar components and small-scale systems to be Type II actions and therefore exempt from all SEQRA requirements, including the submission of an EAF (environmental assessment form). Large-scale systems and solar energy production facilities that meet thresholds contained in the SEQRA regulations and are considered more likely than others to have a significant adverse impact shall be considered Type I actions. However, the need for a complete environmental impact statement (EIS) shall be determined by the permitting board on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the significance of the potential adverse environmental impact.
SEQR Type: _Type I action___ Full EAF provided _________________
If Type I, Coordinated Review authorized/completed: Not Yet authorized
Solar as principal use.
- Large-scale solar systems are permitted by the issuance of a special use permit by the Town Board within the Industrial (I), Conservation-Agricultural (C-A), and CAMP Districts, subject to the requirements set forth in this section.
Zoning District: Industrial District
(b) Application process.
 Every application for a large-scale system within the Town of Busti shall be made to the Town Board and shall be approved by a majority vote thereof.
 Prior to Town Board review of the application it may refer said application to the Town Planning Board for site plan review, report and recommendation of approval or disapproval.
Referred to PB: September, 2021 (first meeting 9/27/21)
Planning Board issues report/recommendation: _____________________________
 The Town Board shall hold a public hearing upon 10 days’ notice duly posted and published in the official newspaper of the Town and on the Town bulletin board, before granting the special use permit.
Public Hearing Noticed/Held: ________________/_______________
(c) Special use permit application requirements. Every application for a special use permit under this section shall contain the following information:
 Verification of utility notification. Foreseeable infrastructure upgrades shall be documented and submitted. Off-grid systems are exempt from this requirement.
Verification submitted: Preliminary Screening Analysis dated October 2018 provided that demonstrates application for interconnection submitted to National Grid (July 2018). National Grid determined that “the local area is not suitable for the interconnection of the generator system as proposed and further evaluation would be required.” Applicant was directed to conduct a Supplemental Analysis.
 Name, address, and contact information of the applicant, property owner(s) and agent submitting the proposed project application.
Submitted: Dennis Ryan, ECOsponsible, LLC, PO Box 114, West Falls, NY 14170 (East Aurora Address, 14052 used on O&M plan; )
 If the property of the proposed project is to be leased, legal consent among all parties, specifying the use(s) of the land for the duration of the project, including easements and other agreements.
NY Standardized Property Owner Consent Form provided between STB Beverages, Inc (owner) and ECOsponsible dated 12/28/20
 Plans and drawings of the solar energy system signed by a professional engineer or architect registered in New York State showing the proposed layout of the entire solar energy system along with a description of all components, whether on site or off-site, existing vegetation, and proposed clearing and grading of all sites involved.)
Plans provided: L-1A and L-1B: Site Plan/Array Layout, plus close up (L-1) of southwest corner layout; Preliminary Grading Plan, Electrical layouts (E-1 – E-5); Civil Details: C-4: Standard and Specifications for construction access, dust control, road, planting, site pollution prevention; C-5: Concrete truck washout, fence & gate details, compost filter stock, signage; C-6: Mulching, planting details; C-7:details on plants. *Note: C-1, 2 or 3 not in packet.
 Equipment specification sheets for all photovoltaic panels, significant components, mounting systems and invertors that are to be installed.
Electrical Details (E1 through E5)
 The location, type, and intensity of any lighting on the site.
Lighting will be motion detector lights as required for safety and operational purposes. All lighting will be ‘dark sky’ compliant.
 Plan for clearing and/or grading the site.
“Appendix B – Vegetation Clearing Plan” Dated April 2021. Tree clearing will occur on 35 acres of the 44-acre site. Information on schedule, hours, communications, complaint resolution; Written narrative on vegetation clearing methods, policies; provisions to control potential impacts. No mapping provided. Provided photographs and Video for October meeting.
 A map showing the soil types underlying the site of the proposed solar energy system and a narrative of the applicant’s plan to avoid disturbing prime farmland.
Map provided, but difficult to read. Soil Types: largely Chautauqua silt loam and Busti silt loam.
Used WSS to find that approximately 40% of site is prime farmland (need Soils Report)
 A stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) as per NYS DEC requirements to detail stormwater runoff management and erosion control plans for the site will need to be completed by the applicant prior to construction.
SWPPP not provided yet. Applicant acknowledges it will be completed per NYS DEC requirements.
Provide date when accepted:
 A property operation and maintenance plan describing continuing photovoltaic maintenance and property upkeep, such as mowing, trimming, etc., to ensure the property does not become a safety hazard.
Operations and Maintenance Plan submitted.
 Decommissioning plan. To ensure the proper removal of large-scale systems, the decommissioning plan shall include details regarding the removal of all infrastructures, including the removal of concrete to a depth of four feet, and the remediation of soil and vegetation back to its original state prior to construction, unless otherwise permitted. A cost estimate detailing the projected cost of executing the decommissioning plan shall be prepared by a professional engineer or contractor. Cost estimates shall take inflation into account. In the case of a lease, the cost of decommissioning shall be borne by the entity or corporation that is leasing the property in question and not the landowner. The plan shall include a description of the form of surety the applicant intends to use.
Decommissioning Plan: Submitted
Cost Estimate: ___ ____
Form of Surety: ___ _________________
 The Town may require the applicant to fund an escrow account to cover the amount by which the Town’s costs to review the application exceed the application fees. The uses for which the funds may be used include, but are not limited to, private consultation and engineering fees or other extraordinary expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the application.
Escrow Account established: _After approval_________
Special use permit standards.
 All large-scale solar systems or solar farms shall adhere to all applicable New York State Building Codes.
To be reviewed by Building Inspector
Current plan set shows 20’ wide turnarounds. Appendix “A” states that final turnaround area will meet 30’ required width in final plans (per code officer).
 A minimum parcel size of 10 acres is required for large scale-solar systems or solar farms.
Size of Parcel: 107 acres total; solar array located on approximately 37 acres
 Underground requirements. All on-site utility lines shall be placed underground to the extent feasible and as permitted by the serving utility, with the exception of the main service connection at the utility company right-of-way and any new interconnection equipment, including without limitation any poles, with new easements and right-of-way.
Plans submitted do not specify whether electric lines will be above or underground. Plans do show location of new poles required for connection to grid.
 Vehicular paths. Vehicular paths within the site shall be designed to minimize the extent of impervious materials and soil compaction and to give sufficient access for emergency vehicles. The main access road into the facility shall be at least 20 feet wide with at least 13 feet of clearance to accommodate emergency and other large vehicles. There shall be a second point of ingress and egress to the facility to be used in case of emergency.
Type and location of access: Location of gravel access road shown on Site Plan layout. Details not provided. Access to southern array is off Baker Street. Needs to be pervious but capable of supporting emergency vehicles.
Dimensions of main access road: 18-feet wide with 18-foot utility easement shown on drawings. Narrative in “Appendix A” indicates the final road width will be 20 feet, with a 30-foot turnaround point. Update plans to show 20’ wide access roads, 30’ wide turnaround. E-mail of 9/23 indicates 30 foot access road.
Sign-off from Emergency Service providers: Not yet provided (e-mail states Code official ok with 30 foot road).
[a] No signage or graphic content shall be displayed on the solar energy systems except the manufacturer’s name, equipment specification information, safety information, and twenty-four-hour emergency contact information. Said information shall be depicted within an area no more than eight square feet.
Signage shown on sheet C-5. Limited to requirements listed above.
[b] As required by National Electric Code (NEC), disconnect and other emergency shutoff information shall be clearly displayed on a light reflective surface. A clearly visible warning sign concerning voltage shall be placed at the base of all pad-mounted transformers and substations.
Provide this detail on updated plans and/or electrical detail sheets.
 Development and operation of solar energy systems shall not have a significant adverse impact on fish, wildlife, or plant species or their critical habitats, or other significant habitats identified by the Town of Busti or other federal or state regulatory agencies. Applicants shall describe how the proposed large-scale solar energy system or solar farm shall avoid or mitigate adverse impacts to these resources. Lands which have the highest ecological values as evidenced by large, contiguous areas of forest, undisturbed drainage areas, wetlands, prime soils, or NYS DEC identified critical habitats or rare plant and animal populations shall be avoided.
Documentation/Reports: Appendix B provides discussion of avoiding impacts: Phase 1 Archeological Assessment by Power Archeology LLC to be prepared; detailed plan for “unanticipated discovery of human remains” provided. Initial consultation with USFWS; protocols for tree clearing restrictions for bats; observations of threatened and endangered species. States no impacts to wetlands or waterbodies. BMP outlined for protection of trees, wetlands.
 There shall be a minimum 100-foot buffer between any component of the large-scale solar energy system or solar farm and the parcel boundary line, with the width determined by the Town Board after analysis of site conditions and adjacent land uses.
Dimensions to property line not clearly depicted. It appears southern array may be less than 100 feet from southwest property line.
Town Board requirement based on site conditions: ________________________________________
 Any site containing a large-scale solar energy system or solar farm shall be enclosed by perimeter fencing of chain link or other similar and suitable type of fencing to restrict unauthorized access at a height of at least seven feet, including barbed wire. The fencing and the system may be further screened by any landscaping needed to avoid adverse aesthetic impacts.
Chain link and barbed wire perimeter fence provided. Detail on fence shown on Drawing C-5. It appears to be 7 feet in height. Appendix A narrative states that due to limited visibility, landscaped screening of fence is not needed.
 A locked gate at the intersection of the access way and public road may be required to obstruct entry by unauthorized vehicles. Such gate must be located entirely upon the lot and not on the public right-of-way.
Locked gate will be provided. Detail on gate shown on Drawing C-5.
 Previously cleared or disturbed areas are preferred locations for solar panel arrays.
Appendix A states that the property had been previously cleared (clear cut logged) 15 to 20 years ago. Clearing Plan is provided in Appendix B. Applicant has now submitted photographs and video.
 Native grasses, vegetation, or geo-fabric with crusher run and no topsoil or other configuration, as determined by the Town Board shall be maintained below the solar arrays.
Planting table and mulching specifications provided on Drawing C-6.
[a] The solar energy system, including any proposed on-site or off-site infrastructure, shall be located and screened in such a way as to avoid or minimize visual impacts as viewed from:
[i] Publicly dedicated roads and highways;
Arrays appear to be set back from the frontage road. Appendix A states that the arrays will not be visible. No verification (visual renderings) provided.
[ii] Existing residential dwellings located within 500 feet of the boundaries of the site on which the solar energy system is located;
Site surrounds a residential parcel on three sides, but areas to be disturbed/ developed with solar arrays are not immediately adjacent to the residential property. Arrays are set back from this parcel, although distances not provided on site plan. “Screening” appears to be existing vegetation (adjoining lands not within limits of disturbance.)
[iii] A berm, landscape screen, or other opaque enclosure, or any combination thereof acceptable to the Town capable of fully screening the site shall be provided.
Detail sheet shows landscaped buffer. Not shown on site plans where it would be located.
[b] The screening requirements set forth in this section shall only be required if the Town Board determines that screening is necessary.
Screening waived: _______________________________
 The design, construction, operation, and maintenance of any solar energy system shall prevent the misdirection and/or reflection of solar rays onto neighboring properties, public roads, and public parks in excess of that which already exists to the fullest extent possible. In addition, all structures and devices used to support solar collectors or solar panels shall be placed and arranged such that reflected solar radiation or glare shall not be directed onto adjacent buildings, properties or roadways and shall be nonreflective and/or painted a subtle or earth-tone color to aid in blending the facility into the existing environment.
No glare analysis. Arrays appear to be distant from neighboring users. Statement made about panels not producing glare and not located near airport (FAA).
 All transmission lines and wiring with a solar energy system shall be buried and include necessary encasements in accordance with the National Electric Code and Town of Busti requirements. The Town Board may waive this requirement if sufficient engineering data is submitted by the applicant to demonstrate that underground transmission lines are not feasible or practical. The applicant is required to show locations of all proposed overhead and underground electric utility lines, including substations and junction boxes and other electrical components for the project on the site plan. All transmission lines and electrical wiring shall be in compliance with the utility company’s requirements for interconnection.
Locations of electric lines and proposed utility poles shown on plans. Plans do not specify whether electric lines are above or underground.
 Artificial lighting of solar energy systems shall be limited to lighting required for safety and operational purposes and shall be shielded from all neighboring properties and public roads and shall be in compliance with the Town of Busti Site Plan Regulations.
Only safety lighting proposed.
 Any signage used to advertise the solar energy facility shall be in accordance with the Town of Busti Zoning Code. The manufacturers or installer’s identification and appropriate warning signage shall be posted at the site and clearly visible At least one sign shall be maintained at the entrance to the facility showing an emergency contact number. No trespassing or warning signs shall be posted at appropriate intervals along the perimeter fencing.
Signage appears to be limited to contact information.
 The average height of the solar panel array shall not exceed 10 feet.
Can’t determine if there are dimensions on solar panel array detail.
 Site disturbance, including but not limited to, grading, soil removal, excavation, soil compaction, and tree removal in connection with the installation of a large-scale solar energy system or solar farm shall be minimized to the extent practicable.
Details on clearing provided in Appendix B.
The Town Board recognizes that no regulation can anticipate every creative plan that may be devised, which, though not in strict compliance with the provisions of this article, nevertheless, is not objectionable. Accordingly, the Town Board is hereby empowered to grant relief to an applicant from the strict application of this article where the applicant provides sufficient grounds for a finding that the proposal comports as much as feasible with the spirit and letter of this article and, though not in strict compliance therewith, remains aesthetically pleasing, protects neighboring properties, and preserves property values within the Town of Busti.
Relief Granted on: ________________________________________________________________
Post Construction Requirements: (Make conditions of SUP)
 Following construction of a large-scale solar energy system or solar farm, all disturbed areas where soil has been exposed shall be reseeded with grass and/or planted with low-level vegetation capable of preventing soil erosion and airborne dust.
 Solar permits and site plan approvals granted for large-scale solar energy systems or solar farms shall be assignable or transferable to future landowners of that system on the approved parcel so long as they are in full compliance with this article and all conditions, and the Town Clerk is notified of the property transfer at least 30 days prior thereto.
 Any post-construction changes or alterations to the large-scale solar energy system or solar farm shall be done by amendment to the solar permit only and subject to the requirements of this section.
 After completion of a large-scale solar energy system or solar farm, the applicant shall provide a post-construction certification from a professional engineer registered in New York State that the project complies with applicable codes and industry practices and has been constructed and is operating according to the design plans. The applicant shall further provide certification from the utility that the facility has been inspected and connected.
(e) Abandonment and decommission of large-scale solar energy systems or solar farms.
 Large-scale solar energy systems or solar farms which have not been in active and continuous service for a period of one year shall be removed at the owner’s or operator’s expense. Decommissioning shall include removal of all energy facilities, structures and equipment Including fencing and any subsurface wires and footings from the parcel.
 Full restoration of the parcel is required unless restoration is unnecessary because the parcel is to be put into active agricultural use or approved for other development in accordance with the Town of Busti Zoning Code within that twelve-month period.
 All safety hazards created by the installation and operation of the solar energy system shall be eliminated and the site restored to its preexisting condition within six months of the removal of the large-scale solar energy system or solar farm.
 A surety bond or its equivalent shall be required to be kept in escrow by the Town of Busti to ensure satisfaction of the above. Prior to approval of any application for a large-scale solar energy system, the Town Board shall establish the amount of such surety, which may be in the form of escrowed funds, bonds or. otherwise, but it is the intention of this provision to ensure that the Town has sufficient funds available to remove the installations and restore landscaping consistent herewith, if the applicant fails to comply with its decommissioning obligations.
(6) Solar storage batteries.
(a) If solar storage batteries are included as part of the solar energy collection system, they must be placed in a secure container or enclosure meeting the requirements of the New York State Building Code. All solar storage batteries, their maintenance, placement, and location shall also comply with all applicable rules and regulations as promulgated by New York State Building Code and the National Electric Code.
(b) When batteries are no longer in use, they shall be disposed of in accordance with the laws of the State of New York and any applicable federal or local disposal rules or regulations.
(a) Any violation of any provisions of this section shall be punishable by penalty or a term of imprisonment as prescribed in Section 268 of the Town Law of the State of New York.
(b) Notwithstanding the above, the Town Board of the Town of Busti hereby reserves the right to proceed to enforce the provisions of this section by civil action, injunction, and any other remedy afforded to it by the laws of the State of New York or the United States.
Mr. Reilly noted the Full Environmental Assessment Forms (FEAF) have been completed as part of the required SEQR. Completion of Part 1 of the FEAF by the applicant was noted, and Part 2 of the FEAF was reviewed in full.
Following review of the checklist and the FEAF, Mr. Dennis Ryan addressed questions from Board members regarding fencing, run-off, and the type of ground cover to be used under the panels. Mr. Ryan also explained the behind-the-meter system being used for this project.
Chairman Paterniti stated the Planning Board will review the information provided in tonight’s meeting and agreed to set the next meeting for Tuesday, November 9, 2021, at 5:30 p.m.
Chairman Paterniti moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:40 p.m.; duly moved by Janet Briggs.
Deputy Town Clerk