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Thread: Solar farm Special Use Permit approved

  1. #16
    Member mark blazejewski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark blazejewski View Post

    I have since heard from another individual who was unable to cast its vote this morning.

    Under approximately seventeen hours, including overnight hours, to vote?

    Curious, curious, curious.
    I understand a further person could not register its vote.
    Of Mike Wozniak: "He has the same ideology as Ron (Ruffino) wanted, Giza said."

  2. #17
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    Town Board Communication #264

    04-12-2021

    Lancaster Town Board Members
    21 Central Avenue
    Lancaster, NY 14086


    I am requesting that the following information be filed as a permanent record.

    Regarding the town board meeting held on 04-05-2021, it is my contention that meeting was conducted in a less than professional, organized manner.

    Supervisor Ruffino, Attorney Kevin Loftus, Councilman Wozniak, and Councilman Mazur, conducted themselves more as representatives of AC Power-14 than as representatives interested in protecting the best interests of our community.

    At different times throughout the recent town board meeting, the aforementioned individuals claimed that all questions presented to AC Power-14 at the Special Use Permit public hearing and otherwise were answered. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

    I voiced my concerns/questions at a previous board meeting and was advised to submit questions in writing. I assumed incorrectly that the town board would hold off on project approval until all questions posed by the public and Councilman Leary were answered. No responses to my questions were received prior to the public hearing. AC Power only answered but a few of my questions at the public hearing and thereafter to submitted questions as they requested (far from the list I submitted).

    Neither AC Power nor the town have supplied all requested information to date; the same questions asked verbally at town board meetings and submitted in writing.

    Questions still needing answering:

    Well test result

    Names of project investors

    Name of involved solar panel manufacturing company and product components

    Name of companies and products dumped at landfill site

    Type of coolant in any transformers or other equipment (hazardous materials)
    What is the depth of the sub structure into the ground that will support panel frames?

    Amount of energy savings: Amount of resident energy savings. Supervisor Ruffino says 10% on entire energy bill, 10% savings is on the electrical consumption only. (transmission line cost is not included) Savings is miniscule.

    The project is listed as a Type II Action not requiring SEQR. Why is the town waiting for NYSDEC study completion? What study is being conducted?


    During the 04-05-2021 meeting, I was pleased to hear Attorney Kevin Loftus tell me that he would discuss questions with me. I have decided to put my recorded questions once again in writing hoping that he will provide all the information I have been requesting. The public has a right to know.

    I would hope to receive the same fast and complete responses as given to AC Power. It is also my hope that all future questions and/or concerns are addressed and responded to by Attorney Loftus and/or the town board in a timely and impartial manner.

    Regarding the LIDA, my interpretation of its mission and scope does NOT comply with the AC Power project application. The solar farm project brings no business to the community nor creates any jobs other than the initial construction jobs. I am requesting that the LIDA take another look at the application. The LIDA should remove itself from this project completely.

    While pleased that project conditions were instated in the resolution at the recent town board meeting that hold the town harmless in the operation of the site and its future decommissioning, the way they were finally introduced was disturbing. The conditions should have been included in the resolution presented. That would have averted a contentious, hostile meeting. Attorney Loftus had alerted all town board members of adding resolution conditions.

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Lemaster
    Lancaster

    c/2: Kevin Loftus

  3. #18
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    Solar farm project approval contested

    Councilmember Dave Mazur sponsored a resolution to approve an amended solar farm project resolution approved on May 5th, with same resolution language, but with conditions that were added after the April 5th resolution’s approval. It was approved by a 3-2 vote, Councilmembers Leary and Dickman voting ‘no’.

    Two resolutions later, Leary sponsored a resolution to rescind the April 5th resolution. Leary and Dickman voted ‘yes’, Supervisor Ruffino and Councilmembers Mazur and Wozniak voted ‘no’.

    Same resolution language, yet different vote outcomes. Reason? Politics and claims by Leary and resident Kevin Lemaster that all questions / concerns posited to project sponsor AC Power-14 and town board members had not been addressed and that resolution approval should be delayed.

    Kevin Lemaster

    Thanked Attorney Loftus for his response to questions posed to him. Loftus explained reasoning for project being listed as a Type II Action, landfill receiving state priority status, condition of clay cap and needed repairs, well testing status, and other.

    Lemaster was not pleased learning of clay cap condition, no well test result information, that no well testing had taken place from 2015-19 because the property owner had run out of money. “Which makes me wonder what’s in the wells and why no one in the town has asked about it. We are being told the town is still waiting for well test results, which I have repeatedly asked about, but never received an answer from AC Power-14 or the town, and here we are approving this project. There is a clay cap that needs repair, and we are left in the dark as to what’s going on at the site.”

    Lemaster also commented on the potential ineffectiveness of a decommissioning bond should the wells be found contaminated as the clay cap had been neglected and compromised for years; that the Special Use Permit would never be revoked; that the Special Use Permit public hearing was a farce in that all questions / comments presented by the public were not answered or ignored by both project sponsor and town board – and still are.

    Lemaster closed by thanking the two board conservatives (Leary and Dickman) for their due diligence attempting to hold the project sponsor accountable and the town harmless in the process. He agreed with their reasoning for delaying project approval.

    Councilmember Leary

    As a follow up to Lemaster’s comments councilmember Leary asked, “What is the plan? If they do not meet the conditions, like in condition #3 with DEC compliance, does that mean that they (AC POWER-14) cannot do anything? Can anybody answer that?”

    Councilmember Wozniak spoke up and asserted that was part of the reason why he added that stipulation at the May 5th meeting. They have to prove to the DEC that they meet all the regulations set by the DEC before they can start construction.

    Leary: When are we going to find out about that? Do you know?

    Wozniak: That I don’t know. In my conversations with the DEC, they were still working out the details.

    Leary: So they will not be putting a shovel into the ground until that time. That’s good.

    Another thing people are asking is what tx breaks AC Power-14 is getting from the IDA. I asked how the numbers were used to determine that and was told that current combined tax rate and what the tax rate would be based on micro wattage - $50,000 per megawatt - generally accepted standard and we had to contact other towns to get that information as this is a first for the town). That comes down over a twenty-year period to an estimated $920,190 for the town and county. If AC Power-14 was not getting the tax break, it would be $2,216,000 for a difference of $1.309,810. Just thought I would point that out.

    Part II: Resolution voting discussion

  4. #19
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    Part II: Resolution discussion / vote

    Despite knowing that two of the six solar farm Special Use Permit resolutions were his, resolution with conditions that would have to be met before project construction begins, councilmember Leary pursued clarification on recent discovery information.

    Leary sought clarification on the site well information provided by Town Attorney Loftus in the response letter to Kevin Lemaster. “When did we find out that the wells were not being maintained over a number of years,” asked Leary. “And why wasn’t this brought to our attention before?”

    Attorney Loftus: I just found out about this last week in response to Mr. Lemaster’s letter. This was present before AC Power ever came to be. I would defer to Town Engineer on the specifics, but its’s been an ongoing thing. If not for this project, it would have been a DEC issue. The DEC will now monitor it as AC Power corrects it…I believe.

    Leary: Ed (Schiller – Town Engineer), could you comment?

    Schiller: Sure. The site operated a landfill for 20-30 years. It was closed in the late 1980’s. The landowner had wells installed and monitored those, usually on a quarterly basis. My understanding is that due to funding issues, the monitoring stopped for a few years. In 2018, the DEC started monitoring them again, and has been doing so since then. When the property owner ran into some financial issues the cap needed some work done. AC Power has agreed under DEC conditions to do that repair work and to maintain the cap thereon. If it wasn’t for AC Power all the work would be done by the DEC. The landowner is still the landowner, but AC Power is picking up the responsibility for the cap (repair & maintenance) and monitoring the wells.

    Leary: Do we know what they have been finding in the wells? And again I am horrified that even the town attorney stated that he did not find out about this until last week. This is all brand new.

    Schiller: The DEC doesn’t share that information with the town – to my knowledge. I am ok with the assumption that the DEC is ok with what has been submitted and is ok with it.

    Leary: How can we get those reports?

    Loftus: I’m assuming a request to the DEC would have to be filed.

    Leary: I would like to request that be done. And again, I would like to say that people are saying all questions are not being answered, and now we have a brand-new issue that has come up and we need an answer to that. Thank you.

    Supervisor Ruffino and councilmembers Mazur and Wozniak voted ‘yes’, Leary and Dickman cast ‘no’ votes.

    As expected, Leary’s sponsored resolution (#14) to rescind the May 5th approved resolution for not having all six conditions written into it was voted gain along party lines – Leary and Dickman voting ‘yes’, Ruffino, Mazur and Wozniak ‘no’.

    Comments

    Kudos to the residents and councilmembers Leary and Dickman for their vested interest and input in a project that would have been approved without four added resolution conditions that are in the environment’s and town’s best interests. *

    Getting answers to questions posed to both the project sponsor and town was akin to pulling teeth – and some concerns and questions remain unanswered.

    And, Supervisor Ruffino has yet to provide the promised bill with the 10% total energy savings from the Solar Simplified program he promoted and promised in a town letter to residents. Three residents have openly testified to their miniscule savings – under $1 per month.

    *Resolution conditions

    1. Permit must be renewed every two (2) years at no additional cost to applicant. Renewal request is considered upon the property owner submitting an application to the Town Clerk, on or before April 18, 2023.

    2. Applicant will authorize representatives from the Building Inspector’s Office to enter the premises upon reasonable notice to inspect the premises to verify compliance with this permit.

    3. That the applicant, AC Power 14, LLC or Landowner satisfactorily address and remedy all the concerns or deficiencies found as a result of the NYSDEC's investigation and assessment of the proposed property including but not limited to performing remedial work to deficiencies in the landfill cap and any impacts to wildlife, prior to the start of any work associated with the construction of Solar Facility.

    4. The applicant, AC Power 14, LLC shall post a Decommission Surety Bond ensuring the proper removal of all equipment associated with this solar facility project and restoration of the landfill to its present pre-existing state. The Decommission Surety Bond shall be in the amount of all factors including but not limited to environmental liabilities, decommissioning costs, and reclamation costs as outlined in a Reclamation Cost Estimate which shall be submitted by the applicant and the estimate shall take into account the costs associated with inflation, changes in recycling standards, returning the land to its original contour and establishing sustainable vegetation. The Decommission Surety Bond and Reclamation Cost Estimate shall be submitted to the Town Attorney’s Office prior to the start of any work associated with this solar facility.

    5. The applicant, AC Power 14 LLC shall provide to the Lancaster Town Board the name of the supplier of all Solar Panels to be used in the Lancaster Solar project(s) which will identify what country the Solar Panel parts came from and what country the Solar Panels were assembled in before they are installed.

    6. The applicant AC Power 14 LLC will provide to the Lancaster Town Board a complete list of the entities and individuals who are financing the Solar Project and their percentage of ownership in the Lancaster Solar Project(s) and all agreements entered into with these entities/individuals before Construction begins.

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