Last year representatives of a company met with the Town Board to discuss the possibility of placing a solar farm in the E Irvington section of town. A conference call with members of a land use advisory committee took place in mid January. Members of the committee seemed open minded about the proposal initially but after they completed their research and discussion are now recommending against placing a solar farm at the E Irvington site.
To: Supervisor Feiner, Commissioner Garrett Duquesne & Greenburgh Town Council
From: The East Irvington Civic Association Land Use Advisory Committee
February 11, 2019
The East Irvington Civic Association Land Use Advisory Committee and Board of Directors of the Civic Association appreciated the opportunity to participate in a conference call with Supervisor Feiner and Commissioner Duquesne on the evening of January 17 to gather more information on the proposed solar farm in East Irvington.
Our Committee met Monday evening, February 4, to discuss all relevant information and reach a consensus by our members on the proposed solar farm. Members of the Board of Directors of the East Irvington Civic Association also attended the meeting.
After careful consideration, including the importance of solar energy, the Committee opposes the development of a solar farm at this location for the following reasons:
1. The 10.6-acre parcel is bordered on two sides by developed residential neighborhoods. It is also bordered on two sides by Taxter Ridge Park. However, one of the sides adjacent to the park is bordered by just a small sliver of the park that abuts a continuation of the residential neighborhood on Taxter Road. The total area is predominantly residential. At the recent NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Agency) conference on solar farms at Pace Law School, a NYSERDA representative stated that solar farms are generally intended for open undeveloped spaces in non-residential areas. The parcel is zoned R-40 residential. Since the solar farm would be an industrial or commercial use, a zoning code change would be required.
2. The parcel is heavily forested with steep slopes and rock outcroppings.
3. The parcel is situated within a Conservation District Overlay and is part of a much larger CD overlay put on the area years ago by the Town Board with the recommendation of the Planning Board to preserve significant environmental features in this area. A CD overlay on a site requires that a minimum of 50% of the natural features on the site, such as forested areas, steep slopes and rock outcroppings, be preserved. Deforesting and leveling over eight acres of the 10.6-acre site for a solar farm would violate the CD overlay code and impact, not just this parcel, but the purpose of preserving the greater CD overlay area.
4. The proposed site and adjacent park are at some of the highest points in East Irvington. The residential areas contiguous to the proposed site slope downhill from the site. Runoff from the high points already negatively impacts residential basements and roads such as Eiler, Shaw and Taxter. The runoff freezes on these roads in the winter causing icing conditions. Other times of year there is considerable flooding. The deforestation of possibly more than eight acres of trees at the top of the hill would only increase the amount of this damaging runoff.
5. There is only a single street, Eiler Lane, with direct access to the proposed site. Eiler Lane is very narrow. Eiler Lane and Shaw Lane, the only other street that could reasonably used to access Eiler Lane, run through residential areas. Vehicles used in the construction, maintenance, and decommissioning the site would have to use these streets.
The East Irvington Land Use Advisory Committee recommends that the Town not proceed with solar farm project at this site. It is clearly out of character with a residential neighborhood and with the adjacent parkland.
However, if the Town should decide to proceed with the proposed project, the
East Irvington Civic Association Land Use Advisory Committee would want to be involved in the review process including the selection of a consultant.
The East Irvington Civic Association Land Use Advisory Committee