Claverack Planning Board 3 February 2020

February 3, 2020 @ 6:42 PM – 7:42 PM

Owen Sperlstra and Gillian Black were present for the application. Mr. Sperlman and Mr. Black informed the Board that they are working on both the Claverack Creek Solar and Catskill View Solar application. Mr. Black informed the Board that these solar installations will be 37 and 36 acres respectively. Mr. Black continued that he met with Jay Trapp and the Town Board prior to the development of these sites. Mr. Sperlman informed the Board that the solar panels will be on ground mounted pilings that will rotate as the sun moves. Mr. Black stated that the solar fields will be surrounded with an 8 1⁄2 foot fence and cameras all around for security. Mr. Black explained that the solar fields will send the energy to the grid and will sell to local residents at a 10% savings. Mr. Black stated that the glare from the solar panels is no more than that of a clear pond or lake, do not make any noise, no traffic, little maintenance with a biodiverse planting design and sheep to maintain a couple times of year. Mr. Black continued that the sites will have screening with existing trees and added indigenous plantings around. Mr. Black continued that both sites are outside of the flood risk area and not much water is displaced by the solar panels and what is runoff will seep into the ground. Mr. Black stated that they are currently working with National Grid for installation of the poles and infrastructure to send the energy to the power station. Mr. Black stated that their company is looking to set up a PILOT program. Mr. Black also stated that they are looking into a partnership with a local school district to train students with implementing a solar curriculum. Mr. Black continued that they will pay National Grid to make the upgrades to the system on their end. Mr. Black stated that the benefits will be a strengthened energy grid, cut pollution, more locally sourced energy, supports agriculture through pollination and seeding, local jobs for landscaping, civil engineering, property management, snow removal and bee keepers and goat farmers and will not need to use pesticides unless invasive species are located. Mr. Black stated that the site will not be paved because roadways are not needed which is an environmental benefit. Mr. Black informed the Board that his clients, the Casivant family owns 250 +/- acres and they are currently looking at a 3rd site at this location in addition to these two sites. Mr. Black informed the Board that the energy will travel directly through the property to the National Grid substation. Mr. Black stated that this is a good use for the site that is within the Rural Agricultural Zone. Mr. Black informed the Board that the site does not require personnel on a daily basis, will be monitored via cameras and will have typical livestock

fencing, no barbed or razor wire. Mr. Black informed the Board that both sites will have pylons that will have the solar panels installed onto them. Mr. Black continued that the pylons will be installed in the ground via pounding them into the site. Mr. Black stated that during this installation there might be some minor noise from the pounding but no noise after installation. Mr. Black stated that the solar modules will rotate 1 degree every 8 minutes following the arc of the sun. Mr. Black stated that the two sites are screened but will require additional screening in some areas and they will do a balloon test to determine the best spaces to install additional plantings. Mr. Black continued that the newly installed plantings will not be fully grown trees but will grow over time to fill in the area. Mr. Black informed the Board that the utility will connect and upgrade lines down Pulcher Ave. and then onto the substation. Mr. Speulstra informed the Board that each of the solar farms will have two inverter pads with two transformers with two sets of 6 poles at the end of the roadway with National Grid owning the first two sets and the solar company owning the others. Chairman Cole asked how high are the poles. Mr. Speulstra answered that the poles will be at 30-feet but it is a dance with National Grid at this time. Mr. Black stated that the company pays National Grid to install the first two sets of poles then Eden Renewables will install the remaining poles and they will then work together to make sure that the system and lines are all working properly. Stephen King stated that the map is hard to read as to the proximity of the solar farm to the Claverack Creek because of the 100-year flood plain. Jock Winch informed the applicants that the site requires a 100-foot setback for the flood plain. Mr. Speulstra will look at the flood plain. Mr. Black informed the Board that the property has enough room to make it happen and will maintain use of the existing tracks do minimize disturbance. Continued to the March meeting.
Catskill View Solar LLC Site Plan Review/Special Exception: Tax Map #SBL) 101 . – 1 – 1 Located at 132 Humane Society Rd. Site Plan Review/Special Exception for the construction of a 40-acre large scale solar energy system.
Mr. Black and Mr. Speulstra from Eden Renewables was present for this application also. Mr. Black informed the Board that the Catskill View Solar site will require a minor subdivision and will have an easement. Mr. Black continued that ultimately the entire site will consist of 3 separate solar fields the third is in design. Mr. Black continued that all of the parcels will be leased for 25-year lease with the option of 3 more 5-year terms from the Casivant family and they will maintain ownership of the property. Mr. Speulstra stated that he has submitted detailed packets and at this time are looking for feedback and engineer review. Mr. Black stated that this is actually one action but are totally separate fields and one disturbance for SWIPPEs which is still less than one acre. Mr. Black stated that the has submitted an adequate erosion mitigation plan during installation. Robert Vecchi asked what the timeframe is for completion. Mr. Black answered that National Grid has already started the necessary upgrade to the grid and the company would like to have the fields completed by Spring 2021 if everything falls into place. Stephen King asked that the applicant submit a construction disturbance plan with the number of trucks per day, noise pounding decibel, hours of pounding, size of the construction trucks, traffic increase because he knows that the people in that area are going to ask these questions. Mr. Speulstra stated that there will be noise during the day when they are installing the pylons but it is a short timeframe for this to happen. Chairman Cole stated that there is one house, farm, humane society and a very close trailer park. Stephen King informed the applicant that sound travels and the trailer park residents will be impacted. Virginia Ambrose asked if the company has any other local projects in the area. Mr. Black answered no nothing in the United Stated yet but are currently working on a site in Schodack and two more in Dwaynesville and a few others in the works but all are in the United Kingdom but he would be happy to share any information. Stephen King asked where in the U.K. are sites located. Robert Vecchi informed the applicants that the more positive information that they could submit would be the best for them. Mr. Black stated that this site is a great opportunity to let the ground rest and regenerate and they have proof that it creates better soils, hosting beekeepers to pollinate a 3-mile area and the increase of worms.

Mr. Black stated that at the end of a possible 40-year term or end of the 25 year term they will pull out all of the panels using the decommission bond. Mr. Black continued that all of the materials used for the field are recyclable. Virginia Ambrose asked about how the panels tip and turn. Mr. Black stated that the panels are set at 52 degrees east and rotate to 52 degrees west at 1 degree per minute so a rotation of 104 degrees to chase the sun all day from sunrise to sundown. Virginia Ambrose asked how rainwater will get to the ground. Mr. Black stated that the panels are 8-feet wide and are spaced further apart than the width of the panel so rain will run off into the surrounding ground. Robert Vecchi stated that he reviewed the decommission plan and would like to know why the duct vents are left. Mr. Black stated that anything over 4-feet is removed. Virginia Ambrose asked about the subdivision of property into three parcels. Mr. Black answered yes there will be three properties with three different 911 addresses. 151 Humane Society Rd. which will include Mr. Casivant’s residence, 132 Humane Society Rd. and 129 Humane Society Rd. Rob Fitzsimmons informed the Board that all three are still under 50%. Jock Winch stated that the Town of Claverack Solar Law for Large Solar fields is really new and this is the first trial and it appears that all of the points have been covered with the lot size needing to be clearer on the size of the parcel and the size of the array. Rob Fitzsimmons stated that the lot size then the size of the solar array meets the total acreage of the parcel with the array meets the requirements of the law. Robert Vecchi stated that he questions the PILOT agreement should be with the Town of Claverack Town Board. Mr. Black stated that the Town Board, Town Attorney and Eden Renewables will provide a proposal for the PILOT plan. Stephen King stated that when that is completed the Planning Board will need a draft copy for the file. Rob Fitzsimmons informed the Board that he will sit with Charles Brewer the Town of Claverack Assessor to figure out the Agricultural Exemption and the taxes. Mr. Black informed the Board that this will be a net benefit to the Town of Claverack and the school district when the property comes out of Agricultural Exemption. Rob Fitzsimmons informed the applicant that this is a good point to let the people know. Stephen King suggested that when the project gets further along it should be uploaded onto the Town of Claverack website for citizens to review. Rob Fitzsimmons stated that the technical review begins he will ask for electronic files for the website. Stephen King stated that this will help to make the residents and neighbors better informed. Mr. Black stated that his company recently had an open house to discuss the new solar laws and large solar fields but it was very poorly attended Mr. Black asked the Board to deem the application complete. Chairman Cole stated that he is not comfortable with deeming the application complete until the Planning Board has met or had a workshop. Rob Fitzsimmons stated that there really isn’t a need for a workshop and the applicant is not seeking approval because they will need a subdivision and George Schmitt will need to review. Rob Fitzsimmons continued that Mr. Black actually helped the Town of Claverack write the Large Solar Law. Chairman Cole asked for a workshop to review the new law and applications. Rob Fitzsimmons suggested to allow George Schmitt to do the technical review and it is early in the application so it is better to continue the application and if necessary schedule to meet earlier at the March meeting. Rob Fitzsimmons informed the Board that if they were going to hold a workshop or separate meeting it would require notice for the public. Rob Fitzsimmons continued that the Town Board and Assessor will work on the PILOT and if the Board requests to meet earlier for the March meeting it will be decided closer to the meeting. Continued to the March meeting