Missing Members Stall Hearings – Wanderer

The Braley Hill North Solar, LLC project has once again been continued, this time because of quorum issues, as only four of the Planning Board’s seven members were present at its May 12 Zoom meeting.

            Cognizant of potential ramifications of resuming the scheduled public hearing for the project without the absent board members, Chairman Arnie Johnson advised presenter Eric Las to request a continuance. After conferring with the applicant, Las thanked Johnson for the suggestion and requested a continuance to the board’s May 26 meeting. “That sounds like the best decision… that seems like the right option,” said Las.

            Because some members not present had already missed the maximum-allowed one public hearing on the matter, missing another would disqualify those members from voting.

            Potential fallout includes but is not limited to the possibility that the Planning Board will not be able to produce a quorum when it comes time to vote, resultant delays could possibly set the project far enough back it would require refiling of all documents and rescheduling of fees, effectively starting from scratch. Town Counsel Blair Bailey added that at some point in the process a unanimous vote might be needed and might not be attainable.

            “I think we’re far enough along in the project that I think we know what needs to get done here engineering-wise,” said Johnson, who didn’t wish to see the project go off the rails.

            A motion to continue the case to May 26 passed.

            The board did schedule a site visit to Braley Hill Road on Friday, May 22, at 4:00 pm. Still listening in on the call, Las told Johnson, “We will have that fairly marked, Mr. Chairman.” Johnson said the board would like to see limited clearing and where the panels are going to be.

            The board also intends to schedule a Saturday site visit for the Connet Woods development, but that date will not be set until the remaining board members have been brought into the loop.

            Of immediate issue are residents’ complaints that, according to attorney Steve Meltzer, are largely leverage based. “We’re going to do everything we’re required to do and more, never less,” he said.

            Seeking to separate the issues of storm drainage and the roadway, Town Counsel Blair Bailey said, “What we’re trying not to do is hold the roadway acceptance (back)” and requested a letter be written to get that disassociation on the record.

            “I will have Bay Colony write a letter to that effect. They are separate and distinct issues,” said Meltzer. “You’ll get a letter from me and attached to it a letter from the engineer making clear that the drainage issues have nothing to do with the roadway.”

            Town Planner Steve Starrett said the board’s next meeting will be full with Connet Woods, Braley Hill and other projects on the agenda.

            “We’re going to make sure we get as many guys as possible to that meeting,” said Starrett. “We can’t afford at the next meeting to have anybody miss.”

            The Connet Woods hearing will be scheduled on the June 9 meeting agenda, falling after that project’s site visit.

            An informal hearing was held to introduce a solar project by Trinity Solar atop the roof of the Rochester Golf Club clubhouse at 353 Rounseville Road (Route 105). Paul Eaton, representing the club, proposed 25 solar panels on the roof facing Rounseville Road. 

            Route 105 is considered “scenic highway” and therefore requires application, but is not in a historical district, according to Johnson. The clubhouse is not visible from the road, and Johnson said the project will not require a peer review. Being below 200 kilowatts, a site-plan review is not needed either.

            “He has to file a site-plan review application, but the extent of our review will be with the Building Department,” said Town Counsel Blair Bailey, estimating the project will bring back a page-and-a-half decision. “As long as they meet the building-code requirements, that’s all that we need.”

            Johnson estimated a two-month process. Eaton, who encountered technical issues hindering his presentation, planned to follow up on May 13 with Starrett.

Rochester Planning Board

By Mick Colageo

–> Source: https://www.wanderer.com/news/missing-members-stall-hearings/

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