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NARROWSBURG, NY — After receiving unanimous approval from the Tusten Planning Board for a solar farm on Woodoak Road in Narrowsburg, Richard Winter, CEO of Delaware River Solar (DRS), said that construction would begin this summer.
Winter, along with landscape architect Linda Stancliffe and members of the planning board, fielded many questions from the 15 members of the public for about 45 minutes.
The land on which the solar field will be located is owned by Ned Lang under the business name of Homeland Farms LLC. The land is leased for 30 years to DRS, which will be responsible for the build-out, landscaping and maintenance and will provide funds over the life of the lease to the Town to cover the costs of decommissioning the site.
DRS had previously agreed to erect an eight-foot black chain-link fence around the 29-acre site. The landscaping plan presented at the meeting showed the planting of two rows of eight- to 10-foot evergreen trees with lower-level filler plantings such as mountain laurel among them. DRS will maintain the tree line and mow the field twice a year, which will inhibit brush fires. Winter said that their commitment is to block the view of the panels, and if additional plantings are necessary to accomplish this, they would be put in place.
The solar panels will sit about four feet above the ground and will be angled to face south with an overall height not to exceed 15 feet from grade.
It was noted that suggestions offered by the fire department were incorporated into the plans and that when construction is complete, a walk-through will be performed with the local departments.
One attendee asked about the durability of the solar panels. The panels are linked in modules and in the unlikely event that a panel is damaged, the module would go offline but not affect the production of the other modules.
Another attendee, who resides in Royal Oaks, asked about the impact on surrounding property values, saying that he had located to that area for the serenity it provided. Winter admitted that there is no clear answer to that question. He said that property taxes will continue to be paid on the property, that DRS will be responsible for payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) on the improvements made to the property.
Construction of the panels will take about three months. The site preparation of fencing and plantings will occur before construction begins.
DRS recently completed a solar field that will serve 350 subscribers. Winter responded to the expectation that the Town of Delaware will enact a solar power moratorium, saying that it was disappointing and that he will attend the next town and public hearing meetings to present his reasons why it is not the right course of action. There are about 300 applications for solar field projects throughout New York State.