The first agenda item for the August 18 Town of Goshen Planning board meeting was a joint public hearing between the Town Board and the Town’s Planning board to discuss the solar farm at Broadlea Road and Vivian Lane. This hearing was rescheduled to September 15, 2022. But that was only the beginning of the two Boards’ involvement in that solar farm.
One week later, the Town of Goshen Board held their bi-weekly meeting. During this meeting, the Broadlea Road / Vivian Lane project and other solar projects came under detailed discussion.
On October 5, 2021, Arico Associates, the Land Engineers for the Broadlea Road Solar Project, had submitted a narrative to the Planning Board noting that the solar panels would cover about eighteen acres on a 267-acre parcel on Broadlea Road, producing an estimated five megawatts of power. This is the largest amount of energy eligible for credits by New York State’s Public Service Commission for any commercial solar farm.
However, the same firm submitted a revised narrative for the parcel located on Broadlea Road on December 21, 2021. They had added a new narrative for the same project that included an additional solar farm on an adjacent lot on Vivian Lane. This parcel is owned by the Town of Chester but is located in the Town of Goshen. What was once one five-megawatt farm is now two five-megawatt farms under the same application on an adjacent property.
This addition, coupled with the proposed joint hearing scheduled on a Town of Goshen Planning Board meeting date, prompted Town Board member Philip Canterino to request the following:
· Two separate applications for the Broadlea Road Solar Project--one for Broadlea Road and another for Vivian Lane.
· A separate public hearing for the Town Board. This public hearing would be granted after the planning board approves the above application.
The board unanimously agreed that the joint hearing would be denied for this project, and they would discuss future joint meeting requests on a case-by-case basis.
However, this was not the conclusion of the discussion of solar farm projects in the Town. Currently, three solar farm projects are on the docket for review in the Town. Mr. Canterino said that he expects more questions than answers ahead and requested a complete study of the projects. This study would include, but not be limited to, zoning analysis, size of each project, compatibility with surrounding properties, viewsheds, environmental impacts, battery storage, and glare effects.
The board unanimously agreed to a six-month moratorium on all non-completed solar projects, with the possibility of a six-month extension, if needed, to complete the study. A public hearing about this moratorium will be scheduled soon.
This study would include, but not be limited to, zoning analysis, size of each project, compatibility with surrounding properties, viewsheds, environmental impacts, battery storage, and glare effects.