An ad-hoc New Paltz committee studying the possibility of putting a solar farm over the old town landfill has been given the green light to negotiate terms with one of three bidders. After presenting its detailed report to the town board, which discussed the dollar value of the three proposals in executive session, the ad-hoc committee was asked to focus its efforts first on reaching an agreement with Sol Systems.
Building solar on brown fields such as a capped landfill is appealing because that land can’t be put to very many uses. Since the operator would be paying town taxpayers for that right, it’s also a financial benefit for the community. State incentives now available for this particular type of project might not be available later, lending some urgency into the process. To receive the maximum subsidy, an operator must invest a certain amount in the project this calendar year.
There is a potential to get a solar farm sufficient to power 1300 homes, which would be a powerful environmental benefit as well.
Some forested portions of the 189-acres site would be cleared for the project. It’s not high-quality forest, Julie Seyfert-Lillis acknowledged, but may serve as a habitat connection for some species. Committee member Cara Lee assured Seyfert-Lillis that the overall impact on wildlife should be minimal.
Should terms be reached and approved by the town board, work could begin in some form this year on the solar project, with an anticipated 25-year lease under terms not yet disclosed.
Brouck Ferris Road residents Michelle DiDonna and Christine Ransom were among those who offered only praise for the hard work put into this plan. A Ferris Woods senior-citizen apartment complex, one of a handful of pending large projects subject to a zoning change, is proposed at the end of this dead-end road. There’s been active public participation in the planning process.