Foothill Street Solar Farm
Site Plan & Special Use Permit for Large-Scale Solar Energy System
Location: 15.07-1-5; 3849 Foothill Street
Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses, Inc.
Description: Proposed installation of a 1.875 MW ground mounted solar panels with assiciated access road, electric utility upgrades, and perimeter fencing.
Click here and scroll down for earlier discussions of this project proposed by Clean Energy Collective.
Planning Board, 12-7-2020
Note. The applicant, Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses, Inc. bought out the previous applicant, Clean Energy Collective and Joe Shanahan, previous principal with Clean Energy is now with the Con Edison company. Mr. Shanahan spoke on behalf of the application at the meeting.
Mr. Shanahan advised the board that based on earlier public comments about its plans to construct a second solar facility off Underhill Avenue, he had advised the town supervisor that the company decided not to go forward with the Underhill plan but move forward with the Foothill plan.
Mr. Shanahan advised the board that the company has prepared a multi-faceted draft tree mitigation plan and that he welcomes feedback on the plan. The board referred out the draft plan.
Mr. Shanahan took exception to the board’s negative comments at the previous meeting about the stockade fence, noting that this type of fencing had been well received in other communities. He also questioned why the board was concerned about visibility from the abutting Putnam school, noting that it should be a positive for students to see the use of solar energy.
Mr. Shanahan also advised the board that his company has prepared a photo simulation that shows the visibility of the panels from Foothill Street; he will share the simulation with the board.
It was noted that Westchester County has submitted comments on the proposal, although the contents of the letter was not disclosed.
The board advised Mr. Shanahan that it was taking a holistic view to the application and was concerned with more than just compliance with the Tree Law. Mr. Bock added that one of his concerns was substituting solar for a healthy forest. The board took strong exception to Mr. Shanahan’s comment that it appeared the board might not want to accept any plan that cut down any trees.
The board advised the applicant to work with the Planning Department to make additional information available. It also assured the applicant that it would take a fair look at the application.
Planning Board, 11-9-2020
The new applicant is Con Ed Clean Energy Business, replacing the former applicant Clean Energy Collective. A plan for 11 acres of panels on the 15 acre site was presented with access from Foothill St. The project is being proposed as a community solar project. The applicant said that the company would pay into the tree fund as mitigation for tree removal on 15 acres. (Note: the number of trees to be removed was not discussed.) There would be a treed buffer on the south side of the site abutting Lockwood Road. The panels would be about 10’ high and the site would be surrounded by a fence. Given the topography, the board wasn’t sure that the fence would provid3e adequate screening.
Noting that the site was “sensitive,” the board asked the applicant to provide more information about screening and also whether the project would be economically feasible if the number of panels was reduced and more buffering required. In response to Mr. Bock’s question about SEQRA, the board’s attorney explained that this was a Type 1 action that would require a more rigorous review. He added that the SEQRA law allowed the board to go beyond the provisions in the Tree law.
Mr. Kincart noted security concerns involving the abutting Putnam Valley schools.
The applicant will review its plans in light of th board’s concerns.