Abbruzzese brothers offer land swap to move solar farm ‘over the hill’— out of sight

To the Editor:

In Altamont and western Guilderland, there is growing opposition to a proposed solar installation on a large parcel of land on Dunnsville Road in Altamont. An online petition against the site location for this project garnered more than 1,500 signatures in a 24-hour period.

The industrial installation will place over 10,000 solar panels on property adjacent to Altamont Orchards and Orchard Creek Golf Course, in close proximity and view of a number of homes, as well as being fully visible to those traveling to and from Altamont via Route 397/Dunnsville Road.

The focus of the opposition to the solar installation on Dunnsville Road is, simply put, location, location, location! This project will irreparably harm one of the most iconic views of the Helderberg escarpment in western Guilderland.

Where do we properly site large-scale solar while at the same time respecting the rights of neighbors, minimize economic impact, and preserve the aesthetics of our towns and villages? I have been doing research on this and would like to share how two New York State communities have approached and solved the problem, to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

The Ontario County town of Geneva is adjacent to the city of Geneva, situated at the northern end of Seneca Lake with a combined population of about 18,000. When Hobart and William Smith Colleges announced in 2015 it wanted to locate a large solar array on a farm field bordered by suburban homes, things didn’t go as planned.

After vocal community opposition to the project, including a passionate public hearing, the college withdrew the site. The Geneva-based colleges moved their solar farm to a less visible, less populated site on the other side of town and the project was approved with no opposition in 2016.

In the Hudson Valley, Delaware, a town of 2,700 in northwestern Sullivan County that abuts the Delaware River, has one solar farm in operation and two more in the works, all proposed by Delaware River Solar. The completed Delaware project is a 2.8-megawatt installation; the original site was shifted a short distance away after neighbors strongly opposed the first location. “They just moved it over the hill so it couldn’t be seen,” said one account.

In this case, the solution is just as simple — move it over the hill! The Abbruzzese brothers — Dan, Jim, Joe, and John — have property bordering the proposed site that they have generously offered in a land-swap.

The parcel offered is approximately 57 acres, south-facing and situated well for solar development; it is also fully shielded from view.

The bottom line: We want to preserve our views while supporting green energy initiatives. This parcel has been offered to Mr. [Joseph] Muia, who is under contract with Helios Energy New York 13, LLC — to date, there has been no response.

Become an advocate for respectful, responsible solar development in Guilderland and help relocate the proposed site. Ask your town officials to listen to the community and facilitate a solution.

Take action today: Sign our online petition at and share your opinion with town and village officials:

— Supervisor Peter Barber;

— Guilderland town zoning board;

— Altamont Referral Committee: Mayor Kerry Dineen, , Ginger Hannah, ; Patricia Blackwood,

Donna Abbruzzese


Editor’s note: The Orchard Creek golf course, along Dunnsville Road, is owned by Donna Abbruzzese’s husband, John Abbruzzese, and his brothers. See related story.

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