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December 15, 2020 - 10:25pm

Town planners schedule public hearings on Ellicott Street Road solar projects for Jan. 19

Residents on both sides of the fence concerning a plan to place two community solar projects on land owned by Donald Partridge at 5117 Ellicott Sreet Road will have to wait a bit longer to express their views in front of the Town of Batavia Planning Board.

Planning Board Chair Kathy Jasinski said several Ellicott Street Road residents – including some who spoke out at the Genesee County Planning Board meeting last week -- were ready to voice their opinions again at tonight’s meeting via Zoom videoconferencing.

Planners are considering a proposal to place a 5-megawatt solar farm on 18.2 acres of a 65-acre parcel and a 4-megawatt system on 19.6 acres of a 71-acre parcel of farmland off Route 63, southeast of the city.

“A lot of people were on the Zoom call but I told them they were not allowed to talk tonight, but will definitely have their chance at the public hearings next month,” Jasinski said.

The public hearings for the referrals, called Trousdale Solar I and Trousdale Solar II, are scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 19.

Partridge, a planning board member, has indicated that he would abstain from any voting on the project, which is being developed by Cypress Creek Renewables LLC.

Jasinski, when asked if she thought putting two nearly 20-acre solar arrays next to each other went against the town’s zoning limitation of 20 acres, said that she sees them as two separate entities as they are 50 feet apart and have separate power connections.

“The only thing they share is an access drive,” Jasinski said, “so I really believe they are two different projects.”

At the county planning meeting, Nancy Brach of 5168 Ellicott Street Road contended that two side-by-side solar farms, at almost 40 acres, went against the parameters of the zoning regulation.

In other action, town planners:

  • Put an application from LandPro to build a storage and maintenance facility at 4554 W. Saile Drive on hold while it reaches out to other agencies who may be interested in seeking lead agency status for the State Environmental Quality Review.

Jasinski said the town planning board wants to be the lead agency, but the scope of the project requires a coordinated review, possibly including the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Transportation, and Department of Agriculture and Markets.

“I will write to them to see if they want to be involved in this process,” Jasinski said, adding that the board pushed the site plan review back to its Jan. 19 meeting.

  • Will be seeking lead agency status for Rochester Regional Health’s plan to build a four-story, 140,000-square-foot medical office building at 8103 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98).

Jasinski said a public hearing for this referral is unnecessary since a special use permit is not required on property zoned Commercial.

She said the board will put this on the agenda of its Jan. 5 meeting, while the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals will consider an area variance due to the building height on Jan. 21.

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