The board unanimously passed a resolution demanding Delaware River Solar contact the Department of Agriculture and Markets with the proposal as well as have its own independent soil classification study done on Smith farms, where the solar farm is proposed
FARMINGTON — On Wednesday the Planning Board unanimously passed a resolution requesting numerous additional action items from Delaware River Solar regarding its proposed solar farm at Smith Farms.
The resolution was passed regarding a proposed 31-acre solar project that is to generate 7 megawatts of energy.
At Wednesday's meeting, the resolution officially acknowledged that at this point Delaware River Solar has not provided documentation to the Planning Board that it has provided the Department of Agriculture and Markets a notice of intent. New York State law requires those who receive funding from the state's NY-Sun commercial and industrial program to do so.
The Planning Board also demanded that Delaware Solar provide a soils group worksheet map for the entire holdings of the Smith property and to have this map prepared in cooperation with the Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District so that it can determine whether there is a feasible alternative location on the site that will not affect high-grade soils classified class 1-4.
“We are concerned about a destruction of the way of life,” said Jim Foley, former Farmington town supervisor, who went on to cite local law. “Over 90 percent is in prime farmland. If this area is going to be approved, the Planning Board must determine first that there is no alternative use for this land.”
On top of those demands, the Planning Board demanded in the passed resolution that the town engineers, MRB Group, hire a certified wetland biologist to review the wetlands delineation report provided by the applicant so that it may consider an independent source regarding potentially protected wetland.
Over 80 members of the community attended Wednesday's meeting, with only a handful of them in support of the project — two of whom were Roger and Carol Smith, who own the land.
“The land’s not going to stop being a farm,” said Carol Smith. The Smiths have owned the property for 30 years and currently operate a dairy farm there. “Solar is a thing of the future, and we’re willing to put it in this pasture lot,” she added.
Smith went on to say that Delaware River Solar will plant trees around the property line so people won’t be able to see the 12-foot-high solar panels.
Delaware River Solar has until Jan. 16, 2019 to provide the requested information. The next Planning Board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 16 at the town highway garage to accommodate the large crowd.