Solar Project, Horse Barn Again Dominate The Session
The Planning Board, it’s Attorney Craig Gilchrist and Engineer Wayne Bonesteel went through the Borrego Solar Project’s long form environmental review documentation line by line last Thursday night, November 2. In the end, while several items were marked as having an impact, it was determined in each case the impact was minor, and the board voted unanimously to accept the so called SEQRA document. The board previously determined it would be lead agency on the proposal, and their decision is now binding on any other agencies involved in the permitting process. The vote also clears the way for the board to hopefully act on the proposal at their next meeting, provided Borrego obtains the necessary permits to cross a small portion of wetland from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
Borrego plans to construct the solar farm on 21 acres of land located at 138 Brick Church Road ( Route 278 ). The matter must also be approved by the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals before it can actually move forward.
Christine Hadsell’s application to construct a single horse barn on her property at 377 Tamarac Road continues to be hung up over the amount of site clearance from the end of her driveway. Her survey shows looking to the west, the clearance is 315 feet. 375 feet is required. At their previous meeting, the board began to explore various ways to mitigate the problem, wishing not to continue to hold up the proposal for what is considered to be a minor structure. The problem, according to Board Chairman Russel Oster, is that Ms. Hadsell decided to construct the horse barn before putting a residence on the property. That made the driveway a commercial matter, thus bringing in the line of site requirements. Her surveyor, Brian Holbritter, confirmed the line of site measures, and discussed such matters as moving the driveway and possibly asking New York State to reduce the speed limit on that section of road from 35 to 30 miles per hour. The road is county owned, but in order for the speed limit to reduced, Ms. Hadsell would have to petition the Town Board, who would forward it to the Rensselaer County Highway Department for their review, and then on to the NYS Department of Transportation. Such requests usually take months, and are often not successful. The board advised that Ms. Hadsell return for their next meeting to further discuss the matter, and asked Mr. Holbritter to relay to her their request to extend the period of time they have to act after the public hearing, or they may be forced to deny the application at this time. By law, the board must act one way or the other within 62 days of a public hearing, or it is considered a default approval.
Jennifer Adams’ application to subdivide property at 4277 Route 2 is being complicated by septic concerns. Ms. Adams wants to subdivide the property so she can legally have a residence with an apartment on one property, and a second containing two apartments on another. Her proposal for the leach field for both properties was shot down by Rensselaer County Health Department Engineer Fred Howard, because the two fields intertwine and heavy equipment would have to cross one to get to the other, creating the possibility of crushing it. She was advised to consult with Mr. Howard and return with a plan he could accept, before the planning board could further consider the subdivision.
The board wrapped the evening’s business, with a request from Tony Valente to have the portion of their mine ( Grafton Quarries LLC ) withing the town of Brunswick, rezoned from agricultural to heavy industrial. The designation was apparently changed during a recent rezoning. Mr. Valente says he is asking simply for a proper zoning, and that it in no way changes any of the quarrie’s mining plans within the town boundaries. That he indicated, would require federal approval. The majority of the mining that is currently taking place, as well as the mine’s entrance, is within the Town of Grafton. Grafton does not have zoning.
The board next meets on Thursday, November 16.