(See also application for a battery storage facility at Staples Shopping Center.)
Planning Board, 9-23-2019
The applicant advised the board that it met all the requirements in the proposed NYSERDA model law and that it had made changes to the site plan in accord with the Planning Board’s earlier concerns. The ZBA is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the application for a special permit on Thursday.
Although the site is currently in a flood plain, the applicant explained that the FEMA map is incorrect (the board agreed that there are problems with the current FEMA maps) and is working to have the map amended to eliminate the site. If the ZBA approves granting the special permit, he said he would accept the condition that the permit not go into effect until after the map was amended.
Mr. Bock raised questions about the potential negative impact on the stream from spills or ruptures and asked if the application has been referred to the Conservation Board; the applicant did not know. The applicant’s engineer explained all the safety features.
Although the applicant reminded the board that the building inspector had determined that the application fell within the bounds of the Zoning Code’s special permit requirements for a “public utility substation,” the board was mindful of the new NYSERDA model law and decided that in its memo to the Zoning Board it would include the following points:
--The need for a referral to the Conservation Board
--The need for mitigation for disturbance to a wetland buffer
--The unresolved flood plain issue
--The fact that the ZBA might want to slow down its process while the Town Board decided how to address the possible need for a local law regulating battery storage facilities.
Planning Board 9-9-2019
The applicant showed a revised plan that addressed changes discussed at the previous meeting. Mr. LaScala, citing a magazine article about an explosion at such a facility, brought up the issue of the plan’s fire suppression system which led Stewart Glass, the supervisor’s assistant, to advise the board that as of July, 2019, NYSERDA had published a model local law governing battery storage facilities. He noted that, to date, there have been three applications for such facilities, with the Gomer Court facility being the largest. The other two proposals are for the Staples Shopping Center and an unnamed town owned parcel.
Mr. Fon said that that state building code governed the issue and that towns could not make changes to the code.
Mr. Bock noted that the storage units were in the wetland buffer which raised questions about the proximity of the stream that feeds into Lake Osceola. Mr. Tegeder noted that the proposed plan would actually clean up the debris currently in the buffer and advised the applicant to discuss the wetland and other issues with staff prior to returning the board in two weeks.
Planning Board, 8-12-2019
On a referral from the Zoning Board, the board reviewed an application for a special permit for a “public utility substation” to install a battery storage facility on a parcel in an office zone. The parcel is located between East Main Street and Route 6 near te intersection with 6N.
The facility, which would store electricity from the grid and return it to the grid when necessary, is part of a state program to create storage for electricity rather than construct new generating facilities. The project would receive financing from NYSERDA. The facility would include two storage like containers about 13’ high.
In response to questions from Mr. Tegeder, the applicant advised the board that the building inspector had determined that the use qualified as a public utility substation even though the applicant acknowledged that the company is not regulated by the PSC.
The board raised questions about the need for a decommissioning plan as the batteries have an estimated 15 year life span. The board asked to see a rendering of what the storage containers would look like. There was also some discussion of whether a fence along Route 6 would be needed to shield the view.