After months, Cypress Creek to install solar arrays in Westerlo

WESTERLO — After nearly a year of review by the planning board, an application for a solar array to be installed off of Route 405 in Westerlo was approved in May.

At the town board’s June 5 meeting, planning board Chairwoman Dorothy Verch announced that her board had issued a negative state environmental quality review declaration — meaning the environmental impact would be minimal — and approved the application with conditions for Costanza Solar LLC and Cypress Creek Renewables. The property is owned by Costanza Solar, and the array would be constructed by Cypress Creek Renewables.

The vote was 3 to 1, with one member absent. Verch said the “no” vote was due to a delay in delineating a border.

The solar array follows several other arrays that have been approved in the last year in Westerlo, after the enactment of a solar law in March 2017.

Construction of the two-megawatt array is expected to begin this year and be ready for service in 2019, said Anne Waling of Cypress Creek Renewables. Electricity generated from the array will be sent to Central Hudson Gas & Electric and sold by Cypress Creek to community members. It is anticipated that it will power 300 to 500 homes, said Waling.

The solar array application had been submitted in August of last year. Since it was submitted, the planning board had extended the public hearing for months due to a number of factors, including a planned access road cutting through neighbors’ property, concerns from neighbors about the viewshed, and a lack of response from the applicant.

At the June meeting, Verch said, a new access road was planned and would be upgraded to suit heavier vehicles.

Waling said that the array will be surrounded by a fence as well as conifer and deciduous trees. The utility poles will be set further back, she said. The plans for the access road were revisited multiple times, she said.

“It took some time to get it right,” she said.

Additionally at the planning board meeting, a pole barn was approved to serve as a seasonal site for a Reinhardt’s Farmer’s Market off of Route 85.

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