Lumberland board opposes NYS budget amendment

By SUSAN WADE
Posted 3/18/20

GLEN SPEY, NY — At the last Lumberland Town Board meeting, supervisor Jenny Mellan introduced a resolution stating strong opposition to a budget amendment introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to …

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Lumberland board opposes NYS budget amendment

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GLEN SPEY, NY — At the last Lumberland Town Board meeting, supervisor Jenny Mellan introduced a resolution stating strong opposition to a budget amendment introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to “dramatically speed up the permitting and construction of renewable energy projects.”

The resolution stated that the amendment would effectively remove any meaningful input from citizens, towns, counties, local environmental groups, and community businesses regarding the siting and regulation of renewable energy projects, and that the new process is structured such that scientific data, or testimony from qualified experts, will have little bearing regarding siting regulations and approval.

The Cochecton Town Board recently adopted a similar resolution with the same concerns.

Mellan reported that, per the governor’s proposal, once an application is submitted, the new Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) has 60 days to review and determine if it is complete. If no decision is made during that time, the application is automatically deemed complete. After the application is deemed complete, the ORES has 12 months to approve the project, and that if no decision is made in that time, the application is automatically approved, with no provision for extending this time limit.

The town’s resolution, which was passed unanimously, states that these proposed changes conflict with the town’s home rule rights but are also contrary to the board’s obligation to protect the health, safety and welfare of their constituents, and requests that the budget amendment be withdrawn before the state budget is voted upon. Further, it petitions the state to respect home rule rights and to defend the town’s authority to regulate renewable energy projects as the citizens of Lumberland see fit.

This resolution followed another resolution extending a temporary moratorium regarding solar farms and solar power plans in the town, which also was passed unanimously.

In a further challenge to edicts emanating from Albany, the board unanimously passed another resolution supporting the Town of Newburgh in their opposition to the merger of the NYS Bridge Authority into the NYS Thruway Authority.

The board approved May 16 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon for Spring Cleanup Day. Residents can obtain a pass and accompanying list of approved items to be collected at the town clerk’s office. The highway garage at 989 Proctor Road is the designated drop-off site.

It also authorized co-sponsorship of a shredding effort to be held in partnership with Jeff Bank, the Town of Highland and the Greater Barryville Chamber of Commerce on May 2 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The shredding site will be at the Eldred High School upper parking lot. Participants will be able to stay and witness the shredding of their documents or “drop and go.” Removing staples from paper is not required.

The town will advertise for an open position of “laborer 2” with the town’s highway department and noted that a defensive driver course will be held on April 23 between 8:30 a.m.to 2:30 p.m. at the senior center. Advanced registration is required.

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