After numerous meetings and public comments, the Town of Montgomery Planning Board approved NY Solar 1001’s proposed solar farm for Plains Road during its November 14 meeting, granting the project special permit use and site plan approval.
Kami Cohen, developer manager of Lightstar Renewables, opened the hearing with Lightstar’s adjustments to the project, based on feedback from the New York State Department of Ag and Markets.
“We did receive positive feedback from Jason Mulford of the New York State Department of Ag and Markets. He told us that he’s reviewed the plan and is pleased with the content,” Cohen said.
“He then provided some items that he said could strengthen the plan. So we modified the farm plan and submitted it to the planning board along with the planning board’s specific comment to clarify the yield, which we offered in bales, and the acreage to be farm,” she continued.
Lightstar also submitted the plans to the Orange County Department of Public Works and the town’s landscaping consultant and received positive input from both.
“We also got a request from Bonnie to submit the plans to Orange County Department of Public Works. They replied with a few notes that they wanted us to add. We will add all of those to the plans, no problem; most of them have to do with construction,” Cohen said.
“We also submitted the landscaping estimate for the bond to the landscaping consultant. She told us that she’s pleased with those numbers and that they seemed more than reasonable. She also essentially signed off on the latest version, with one comment that we’re fine with,” she continued.
After Cohen finished, Planning Board Chairman Fred Reichle read through a draft of the project’s negative declaration, stating that the solar farm would have minimal to no impact on the town, its environment, and its services. For aesthetic impact, Reichle elaborated on the project’s simulation process and vegetation screening.
“The applicant has submitted a photographic simulation, last revised in April of 2023. The simulations are intended to document the potential visibility of the solar areas from various residential vantage points in Plains Road after five years of vegetative growth from proposed landscape plantings to screen the system. As per the simulation, much of the project will be screened from public view. It may be visible in limited locations,” Reichle read.
Reichle also explained that the energy generated from the solar farm will power Central Hudson Gas and Electric’s grid and provide energy to applicable residents in the region.
“The project is located within Central Hudson Gas and Electric service territory. It will be interconnected to the existing distribution grid into an existing Central Hudson pole on the eastern side of Plains Road by the northeastern corner of the site,” Reichle said.
After some amendments, the board motioned to adopt the negative declaration, along with approving the project’s permit use and site plan.