Batavia Town Board sets public hearings on sewer upgrades, Park Road project, solar moratorium for July 21
After swinging and missing on a pitch to obtain a grant from the New York State Office of Community Renewal for the replacement of 5,300 feet of water main as part of the Park Road Reconstruction Project, the Batavia Town Board is still staying in the batter’s box.
It remains steadfast in its commitment to upgrade the municipality's sanitary sewer pump station at the Valu Plaza on West Main Street.
On Wednesday afternoon, lawmakers scheduled a public hearing on the Community Development Block Grant funding for 7:05 p.m. July 21 (the board’s next meeting) at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road.
“The application is for upgrades and repairs of the sanitary sewer pump station at the West Main Street plaza,” said Town Supervisor Gregory Post, adding that he’s not sure of the cost at this time. “We’re working on that (cost projections) as we speak. It’s a rushed application because we were denied our last application for Park Road and another round of funding is coming out.”
Missing out on the Park Road grant is disappointing, he said, but as the project moves forward, the town is looking at a bond resolution to pay for the approximately $900,000 cost of replacing the water main.
“We’re going to bid on Park Road in the next few weeks and we’re bonding that,” he said. “Once we receive the bids, we’ll develop a construction schedule based on that.”
A public hearing on the bond resolution for the Park Road water main and the entire capital improvement project also is scheduled July 21 at 7 p.m.
The resolution calls for the issuance of serial bonds not to exceed $975,190, offset by any federal, state, county and/or local funds received.
The $3 million Park Road rehabilitation will take place from Lewiston Road (Route 63) to Oak Street (Route 98).
Work will include new pavement, curbs and curbing from Lewiston Road to Richmond Avenue with sidewalks on both sides of Park Road, while pavement will be overlaid and sidewalks installed on one side of the road from Richmond Avenue to Route 98. The project also calls for new water lines and street lights on Park Road between Route 63 and Richmond Avenue.
Additional property enhancements of up to $395,000 at Batavia Downs Gaming will be paid for by the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp.
Solar Moratorium is Extended
In another development, the town board called another public hearing – this one for 7:10 p.m. July 21 to extend a moratorium on solar energy systems for up to another six months. The current moratorium is set to expire at the end of this month.
“We felt it important that we still had the moratorium in place while we work on getting our new (solar) law enacted,” Post said. “So, we’re setting a public hearing to extend the moratorium until such time that we have the legislative process complete.”
Post said the process of enacting new solar regulations has taken longer than expected “due to the extraordinary depths the (town’s solar) committee is diving into to make sure that this is well researched and well thought out. We want to make it more wholesome for the entire community and not leave anybody out.”
Post mentioned some recent developments in the solar arena that could affect the town’s handling of ground-mounted and, potentially, large-scale solar systems.
“The state’s solar agency (Office of Renewable Energy Siting) is being challenged in the courts, and NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) was found out to have hired a consulting firm that also has solar and wind energy customers as clients,” he reported. “That could be a conflict of interest – hiring somebody for a million dollars that is working for solar and wind energy companies.”
Furthermore, Post said he saw that Cypress Creek Renewables LLC, which owns the rights to a pair of side-by-side 5- and 4-megawatt solar systems on Ellicott Street Road, was sold to a Stockholm, Sweden-based investment company called EQT earlier this week.
“Solar is a hot topic and we just want to do our job and make sure we do it as well as everything else,” Post said, adding that he hopes to have the town’s new solar law in place by Labor Day.