The Town of Montgomery planning board focused on four ongoing projects during its September 13 meeting, featuring ample discussion and updates.
First on the agenda was New York Solar’s 15-acre Solar Farm proposed for Plains Road. Kami Cohen, developer manager of Light Star Renewables, addressed changes in the site plan since the project’s last appearance, including a shift in interconnection equipment and landscape tweaks.
“We were able to work with Carrine Mullin from Central Hudson Gas and Electric and understand how we could shift most of the interconnection equipment to be underground or at least ground-based,” Cohen said.
During public comment, resident Andrea Martinez, who lives adjacent to the proposed site, recapped several issues she has with the project and stated that the solar farm itself isn’t the issue, but rather the size and location.
“We are all aware of the value of solar energy, and that is not in question. The issue at hand is the location of this solar project…taking 15 acres in a residential community to put an enormous solar farm is not the answer,” Martinez said.
“I am not happy to live next to this eyesore and have it be the first thing my family sees when they look out the window…I am thankful that my kids were able to have tranquil land as a neighbor for the past 20 years,” she continued.
John Capello, the lead partner of J&G Law, spoke on behalf of the applicant and explained the solar farm will have no traffic or disturbance impact on the area, and asserted that the laws that enable this project were carefully crafted.
“I just want to set the record straight that this is a New York Solar project. This is a company doing it based upon laws that were adopted after ample years’ worth of public participation and concern by the town, to arrive at a project that will have significance to the area, and be a project that we can all be proud of,” Capello said, adding that the applicant will continue working with residents to better meet their needs.
The board motioned to send the site plans to the town’s landscape architect and will continue the public hearing on October 11.
Next up was a QuickChek gas station and convenience store proposed for the corner of State Route 208 and 17K. Planning Board Chairman Fred Reichle said that the planning board was waiting for the town board’s decision regarding the project’s sewer lines and motioned to continue the hearing on October 11.
Before moving on, resident Karen Fancher commented, stressing the dangers of the project’s site and the abundance of gas stations already in the area.
“That corner is so dangerous and overcrowded as it is, and there’s a gas station across the street, and a gas station on 208 that you can throw a rock and hit, and there are gas stations on the way…why do we need a 6,000-square-foot building there? To add to the chaos that is becoming Montgomery?” Fancher said.
Following QuickChek was the Milk Factory project, a restoration of the Walden Borden Factory on Route 208 that would incorporate a hotel and restaurant within the existing site. Noah, one of the developers, told the board that the factory’s buildings are collapsing and they need the board’s approval to save them.
“The only thing that’s currently in our way is this board. We’ve been through every possible process that you’ve asked us to go through, diligently, quickly. And at this time, we’ve submitted everything you’ve asked, so we’re hoping that we can get to a place to really move on things,” Noah said.
Reichle stated that, while the project is very close to moving forward, there were still questions not addressed on the planning board’s review.
“There were some bullet points in that review we feel need to be addressed…we have a sensitive receptor next door, and we went through the trouble of getting a noise analysis done, they had some questions. That’s all. Please just answer them,” Reichle said.
The board motioned to continue the discussion on September 27.
The meeting’s last project was Semioli’s 3-lot subdivision proposed for South Searsville Road.
Aside from one comment raising water runoff concerns, Reichle read in the board’s review that the project will not have a significant impact on the area and motioned to adopt a negative declaration.