A residential development and solar field was brought to the Town of Cortlandville’s Planning Board last night by Carson Power. It is the second time Carson Power has presented plans to the planning board.
Carson power originally presented plans to the Cortlandville Planning Board back in February of this year with a proposal of only a solar field that would take up 43 acres and be 12.5 Megawatts. The board made it clear to Carson Power that the proposal did not fit with the town’s comprehensive plan with concerns also brought up on the use of prime farmland, and proximity to residential properties.
This time Carson Power came back with plans to construct a 38-lot residential subdivision with a 10 Megawatt solar field located in the southwestern corner of the 113 acre property.
Renderings show Ridgeview Ave. being extended and then connected to Blue Creek Road. Two side streets would also be created with a cul-de-sac. The lots for each residential property were estimated between 1 and 1.5 acres and the size of the solar field at 40 acres.
Things got interesting when the board asked who would build the actual residential development. Andrew Gordon, Senior Project Developer for Carson Power said Carson Power would not actually have any part with the residential development, but would work with a developer and sell the land to them, no developer was actually named during the meeting.
Gordon continued on saying that the company has never done a “combo” solar and development project, and this would be the first. He continued on saying that for the residential development area of the project, the company has seen interest from developers. When asked if Carson Power was working with any local developers, he responded saying they were from either the Syracuse or Ithaca area.
Board Member Chris Newell brought up though the issue the board had originally the last time when Carson Power presented plans for a solar field, that it was being built on active prime farmland. Gordon continued the reason why the company chose this area of the 113 acre property for the solar field as it was the best place to in terms of sight-line of current properties nearby not seeing the solar field.
More concerns were raised about the residential development, no official market study was done to see if the demand was there for 38 parcels to be built, or engagement about the project to those living nearby. Board Member Nicolas Renzi brought up to the board, with current lumber costs, other developments in Cortlandville have slowed down in progress.
There was also the question asked if the approvals were all given, how would it be guaranteed that the residential development would actually be built. Planning Officer Bruce Weber explained to the board that they could insert conditions on the applications that would “guarantee” they would get done including: electrical, sewer, water, roadway.
In the end though the fact that the proposed solar field would be built on prime farmland was a deal breaker for the planning board. The board said to Gordon that they’ve rejected other solar applications because of the use of prime farmland. Something to note, development may be done (in terms of solar fields) on prime farmland when the land has not been farmed for at least three years.
The future remains uncertain if Carson Power will go back to the board again with another revised preliminary plan that would satisfy the town’s requirements.