The Saugerties town planning board discussed a variety of proposals as its meeting on Tuesday, April 16. A solar farm on Warren Myers Road was approved. Progress was made on landscaping issues at the A. Montano machinery sales facility on Route 32, with a public hearing scheduled for May 21. A hearing on a two-lot subdivision on George Sickle Road sailed through. And a hearing on a 9000-square foot building expansion at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary on Old Stage Road was postponed indefinitely.
Solar farm approved
Jamie Fordyce and Wendy De Wolf of East Light Partners plan to construct a three-megawatt solar array on Warren Myers Road in Saugerties. The array would be constructed in two sections, one on each side of the road, Fordyce told the town planning board on Tuesday, April 16.
There will be screening on both sides of the road, Fordyce said, Cedar, white pine and juniper would form the bulk of the screening, and shrubs will be included.
Neighbor Edward Reisner asked how tall the proposed trees would be. Fordyce said the solar panels would be eight feet high. “So a five-foot-high barrier wouldn’t screen anything,” Reisner noted. “How many years will it take until there’s any actual screening of the array?”
Reisner said that employees of Markertek, Ceres Technologies and others frequently walk along Warren Myers Road on their lunch breaks in order to to enjoy the rural atmosphere. “They are also concerned about losing the bucolic nature of Warren Myers Road,” he said.
A screen can be effective at a lower height when viewed from a distance, Fordyce said. Over the longer run, white pines gain about a foot a year in height, and their effectiveness will increase fairly quickly.
De Wolf said the goal was to provide a mix of trees that will continue to provide screening over a long period of time. Large trees often don’t establish themselves immediately when planted, so “we start with five-foot trees, and usually within five years they grow to ten-foot trees,” she said.
If the trees were to fail to grow or died, Board chairman Howard Post, Reisner could bring this to the attention of the planning board. The town building inspector would enforce the requirement for screening shown in the plans.
The board voted to approve the solar farm.
Montano machinery sales center
Over the past several months, the planning board has discussed a machinery sales and rental center on Route 32 proposed by A. Montano Company. The primary question has been the appearance of the property in the gateway district – the area that people approaching Saugerties see first.
Questions of the number of vehicles and equipment visible from the road, the overall appearance of the site, and the owner’s desire for his equipment to be visible as a kind of advertisement for the operation have been worked out. At the April 16 meeting, landscaping was the main item of discussion.
Engineer Jeff Hogan presented plans showing the flowers, trees and shrubs the company plans to plant along the road. While the plantings will screen the main building and much of the property, machinery would be placed along the road as a visible example of what the firm has to offer. Hogan said details such as grading and utilities have also been worked out over the past few weeks. He described the lighting and then moved on to landscaping.
Landscaper Tom Francello, a former member of the planning board, provided the layout of plantings for the property, Hogan said. The plan shows flowering pear trees, red maples, Norway spruce and crabapple on the Thruway side of the property. The entrance would be planted with spirea and juniper. The sign indicating the business would be surrounded by plants, and the machinery would be displayed nearby, Hogan said.
The board agreed to schedule a public hearing on the property at its next meeting on May 21. Board member Ken Goldberg suggested that artist renderings of the appearance of the property should be provided at the hearing. Hogan argued that these would be very expensive, but he agreed to get prices for creating the renderings and discuss the proposal with Montano.
Two-lot subdivision approved
The board approved a two-lot subdivision proposed for George Sickle Road by Mary Anne and Richard Erickson following a brief public hearing at which no one spoke. The subdivision divides a 15-acre lot into lots of 8.62 and 6.38 acres. The site plan shows a house on the larger lot. The smaller lot is undeveloped.
The board also approved a lot-line change for Gay Norwood on Old Route 212 and one for Chestnut Hill Holdings LLC on Route 212.
Animal sanctuary building postponed
A public hearing on a proposed 9000-square-foot building to house the Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s offices and a visitors’ center on Old Stage Road has been postponed indefinitely. The hearing, which opened at the March 19 meeting and had been set to continue at the regular meeting on April 16, ended with a suggestion from the board that the sanctuary’s administration meet with neighbors to resolve objections. Neighbors cited the danger of siting the building across the road from the animal sanctuary proper, the sharp curves in the road in the vicinity of the sanctuary, and the appropriateness of placing such a large building in a residential zone.
The sanctuary plans also include a 1800-square-foot pavilion and 52 parking spaces.