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Florida approves second solar moratorium

According to Town Supervisor Eric Mead on Monday, the new moratorium was not created with the intention to try to delay a proposed 90-megawatt solar project, called High River Energy Center ...NextEra Energy Resources, LLC is eying 550 acres within the town as the buildable area for the project. 

TOWN OF FLORIDA — The town of Florida placed a second temporary moratorium on solar facilities, this time for those considered large scale.
A resolution was passed during the town board meeting on Oct. 15 to adopt Local Law 4, which has placed a 180-day moratorium on construction of solar energy systems and equipment and solar energy facilities in the town of Florida.
The 180-day temporary moratorium will halt any future large-scale solar projects from coming into the town exceeding 50 acres.
Local Law 4 will give the town and planning boards time to research regulations for any potential proposals that could come to the town in the future for large-scale solar facilities in order to update town zoning laws for projects of this magnitude.
A public hearing was held prior to the meeting to give the town’s residents a chance to voice concerns or questions regarding local law.
Town attorney Deborah Slezak read the law to residents before the floor was officially opened to hear comments. This was done to give residents a better understanding of what the moratorium pertains to.
“I know this has really fired up people down in my neck of the woods and rightfully so,” Leon Gray said during the public hearing... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
TOWN OF FLORIDA — The town of Florida placed a second temporary moratorium on solar facilities, this time for those considered large scale.
 
A resolution was passed during the town board meeting on Oct. 15 to adopt Local Law 4, which has placed a 180-day moratorium on construction of solar energy systems and equipment and solar energy facilities in the town of Florida.
 
The 180-day temporary moratorium will halt any future large-scale solar projects from coming into the town exceeding 50 acres. 
 
Local Law 4 will give the town and planning boards time to research regulations for any potential proposals that could come to the town in the future for large-scale solar facilities in order to update town zoning laws for projects of this magnitude. 
 
A public hearing was held prior to the meeting to give the town’s residents a chance to voice concerns or questions regarding local law. 
 
Town attorney Deborah Slezak read the law to residents before the floor was officially opened to hear comments. This was done to give residents a better understanding of what the moratorium pertains to. 
 
“I know this has really fired up people down in my neck of the woods and rightfully so,” Leon Gray said during the public hearing about solar facilities. “I think it would fire up the rest of the community if it was in their backyard.”
 
Gray is also a member of the Town of Florida Planning Board. 
 
“I have neighbors that have been there 65 years and they are going to be pitted against the residential people in our area, so it’s not going to be a good scene,” Gray said. “I see both sides of the fence. Farming isn’t what it used to be, but farming is still farming. Granted it may not be lucrative as it was at one time, but it’s still farming. I would like to see if possible if you put the moratorium in effect that you get a committee or we get a committee of a cross section of people in the town to try to come up with a compromise or a livable solution to this problem because I don’t think it’s going to go away.” 
 
Planning board member Richard Romeo asked if the moratorium can be extended from 180 days. 
 
“It can be extended with only good cause,” Slezak said. “The town couldn’t say we are going to do this and then you guys have a rock in your shoe, the sun’s in your eyes, you don’t get to it and then 180 days from now we are going to say we are going to do it again. You are only doing that as a delay tactic.”
 
If the planning board has been working on it diligently, but need a 20 day extension to fine tune the legislation, Slezak said that is expectable. 
 
Town board member Ronald Phillips advised the public to attend the planning board meetings to give their input as the board works on the legislation at the meetings. 
 
During the regular town board meeting Oct. 15, the board approved State Environmental Quality Review Act for the moratorium, showing the law does not have a negative impact on the environment. 
 
This is the second moratorium the town placed on solar facilities. The first was placed in 2015 for six months to give the town time to update its zoning laws to include solar regulations.
 
Florida was the first municipality in Montgomery County to establish a moratorium and create its own laws to regulate solar projects. The town board began the process of drawing up regulations for solar about four years ago and officially adopted them into the town’s zoning laws in 2015, after which the moratorium was lifted.
 
Regulations for the solar panels include the size and number of acres the facilities can cover, as well as a setback of 200 feet from neighboring properties. Solar facilities must also be surrounded by a chain link fence.
 
Another regulation in the zoning law is if a the system is left unused, abandoned or it has reached the end of its life span, there is instruction on when and how to properly remove them. 
 
According to Town Supervisor Eric Mead on Monday, the new moratorium was not created with the intention to try to delay a proposed 90-megawatt solar project, called High River Energy Center, that would provide power to 22,000 homes. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc. is eying 550 acres within the town as the buildable area for the project. 
 
The project site is located near the Thruway, just west of the Schenectady County line, on several private properties leased from landowners. The site includes property off of Pattersonville, Severin, Mohr and Hutchinson roads, according to the map found on the project’s website.
 
The project’s permitting and approval process will be done through the state under Article 10, not through the town of Florida boards because of its large size. Article 10 was created in 2011 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a part of the Public Service Law. 
 
According to the state Department of Public Service website, the law allows for the siting review of new and repowered or modified major electric generating facilities exceeding 25-megawatts. The creation of a multi-agency Siting Board is in charge of the permitting process for the large power plants.
 
In other business, a bid for the old town hall project renovations was awarded to Borderline Excavating and Fence of St. Johnsville at $247,750. Funds for the project will come out of the town’s general reserve fund balance. 
 
Renovations to the old town hall and highway garage on 167 Fort Hunter Road include renovating the restrooms to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Doors to the restrooms will be widened, bathroom stalls will be made bigger and new flooring will be put in. 
 
A separate bathroom for the highway department will also be installed. Currently, the department’s workers use the restrooms in the old town hall building. 
 
Under the project, the main hall reception area in the old town hall building will also receive its own renovations including a fresh coat of paint, a new interior wall and new hardwood flooring.
 

Source: https://www.recordernews.co...

OCT 25 2018
http://www.windaction.org/posts/49010-florida-approves-second-solar-moratorium
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