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Wallkill Valley TimesChanges for Montgomery solar law

Changes for Montgomery solar law

“We think we’re pretty close,” said attorney Doug Warden.

Warden represents a solar farm project pending in the town of Montgomery. He advised the town board that his clients hope to have a public hearing before the town’s planning board by the end of the month.

Before the project can be finalized however, the town board needs to complete work on their proposed local law which would govern solar installations like the one proposed by Warden’s clients on Lake Osiris Road.

Town Supervisor Mike Hayes noted that while interest had previously been expressed to build a solar farm on St. Andrews Road, the project on Lake Osiris Road is “the only one right now.”

During the continuation of the public hearing on the law last week, the board discussed the issue of main concern to Warden, namely the percentage of tree clearing the new legislation would allow.

Supervisor Hayes explained to the board that different options were available, from grandfathering pending projects to requiring that applicants replace cleared acreage in excess of the amount allowed in the law (plant trees elsewhere on the property).

Warden requested that the board consider grandfathering and also provide a definition of woodlands, so that the law was clear on what needed to be replaced.

“If it’s just brush, why would you make them replace it?” asked Town Councilwoman Sheryl Melick.

The board seemed to agree that they wanted to include a grandfathering clause and make other revisions to the local law, putting off any decisions.

In other business, the board gave their approval for a proposed Eagle Scout project at Benedict Farm Park, which entails the planting of trees and the installation of new bird houses.

According to Highway Superintendent Charles Woznick, work on the Rail Trail through Walden should be completed by September.

By RACHEL COLEMAN

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