During the Cortlandville Planning Boards meeting last night at 6:30 pm in the Raymond G. Thorpe Municipal Building, Carson power visited the planning board to discuss a sketch plan of a solar project off of Blue Creek Rd.
The proposed 12.5 Megawatt project would be set on nearly 43 acres of what is currently a wooded area, and prime farmland within the Town of Cortlandville. Carson Power stated to the board during their presentation that they focused on minimizing the use of land considered to be prime farmland and to ensure there would be adequate vegetative screening (10 to 14 feet high pine trees) between the solar project and the residents in the surrounding areas.
Overall though, the board’s views towards the proposed project weren’t as bright. The planning board stressed concern that the project overall didn’t meet with the Town of Cortlandville’s Comprehensive Plan for that area, which is conservation and residential development.
“With the surrounding homes that you’re face with. I just don’t know how you can mitigate the viewshed. It’s just hard to hide and I really don’t think it will help the resale value all of those homes we’re are looking at.” said Planning Board Chair Christopher Newell.
Additional concerns were brought up of the use of prime farmland for the project. Currently sketch plans show Carson Power taking 7% of prime farmland soil for the panels, which is not allowed within Cortlandville. When the question if a waiver could be given to allow Carson Power to use prime farmland, planning board member Nicolas Renzi had this to say:
“On the prime farmland, one man’s opinion, you’re not going to get a waiver for that. And the other thing is that it (Solar Project) is contrary to what is in the comprehensive plan.”
Another concern was the life of the solar panels, which was stated to be 25 years. Carson Power did note there are bonds that would be in place for decommissioning the site, but could not guarantee that the solar farm would remain citing changes in demands and subsidies.
The Planning Board informed representatives from Carson Power that they need to see better viewpoint images, especially for the residents in the surrounding area, than what was provided to the board.