February 14, 2023
BUSTI — Several hurdles have been cleared for the installation of a solar farm in Busti.[…]
In regard to solar arrays being viewed from the road and nearby homes, Nathan Rizzo said Solar Liberty is “committed to the screening being re-evaluated in a year and will put up additional screening if needed,” according to minutes from the Dec. 5, 2022, meeting of the Town Board.
During a public hearing on the project in July 2022, Nathan Rizzo said vegetation will keep the project hidden from the road and area homes. He said trees will be planted to keep the project out of sight.
At the July hearing, Nathan Rizzo said he expected construction to begin within six to eight months once approval was granted and take about four months to complete. He said the first four to six weeks of construction will involve driving the posts for the solar arrays, and the remainder of the project will all be constructed with hand tools. A fence also will be installed.
In August 2022, the Solar Liberty officials fielded more questions about the project. Adam Rizzo said the company will be supplying payment in lieu of taxes to the town, county and local school district. Solar Liberty also will establish a host agreement and will pay the town for allowing the project to be located in Busti. In addition, the company participates in what’s called a “Community Solar Project” where customers of National Grid can save on their electric bill.
Jesse Robbins, Busti town supervisor, said Solar Liberty will be required to “meet various terms and conditions” outlined in the special use permit prior to a building permit being issued. He said the company will then need to meet with the town’s Planning Board for a final site plan review followed by one last approval by the Town Board.
A public hearing has been scheduled for March for a local law that would enact a one-year moratorium on commercial solar energy facilities. As noted in the language of the local law, “Since the Town Board amended the town’s zoning code in 2020, it has received several applications for large-scale solar projects, and the experience gained from those applications leads the Town Board to conclude that further amendments are required.”
The moratorium, if passed, will limit any new permits or construction of commercial solar farms for a year while zoning codes are reviewed and possibly updated.