PORTVILLE — About 35 people gathered in the Portville Town Hall Tuesday night to ask questions and get information on Dimension Renewable Energy’s proposed solar farm on East Windfall Road.
The Portville Town Board convened its regular monthly meeting and heard another presentation by Kieran Siao, project development manager for Dimension.
“This is not a public hearing so not much is going to happen today,” said Tim Emley, town supervisor. “No decisions will be made.”
Emley expressed his hope that those at the meeting and other Portville town residents would respond to his ongoing request for comments about the project.
In January, the board voted to act as lead agency for the energy company, which originally presented the proposal to build a solar farm at 2188 Windfall Road to the board in November.
The project, which the developer says would generate enough electricity to serve 900 homes, would connect to existing equipment through National Grid’s Community Solar program, allowing customers a discounted rate on their electricity.
The presentation by Dimension in November generated many questions from residents — and Tuesday’s meeting was no different. One resident remarked that it sounded from the presentation like the project was a done deal.
“Absolutely not,” Emley said, further explaining that the meeting was strictly informational and the town board was attempting to be as transparent as possible by involving the community early on.
Emley said there would be more meetings and a public hearing would be scheduled so that residents have ample opportunity to provide comments and feedback on the proposal.
Siao explained that the landowner had declined to renew the option to lease from Omni Solar Solution, another solar company that had proposed a project on the site. He said the landowner agreed to sell the property to Dimension and that preliminary work is expected to begin in the “next few weeks.”
Dimension has its eye on another site or two in Portville.
Siao met with Portville Planning Board members Feb. 5 to present Dimension’s proposal for two solar energy sites to be located on a piece of property behind 1587 Haskell Road, the site of the former Olean Wholesale Grocery.
Bob Fischer, chairman of the Town Planning Board, reported that in that meeting Dimension had “addressed all our concerns about noise, site and property values.”
IN OTHER BUSINESS, a local law was passed that will allow “granting partial exemption on real property taxation to certain senior citizen and permitting income to be offset by unreimbursed medical and prescription drug expenses,” to take effect immediately upon filing with the New York secretary of state’s office.
A resolution from the planning board was passed that approved the site plan application from Borrego Solar for its proposed solar project at 1414 Rowe Ave. They also noted the necessity for a solar law to be adopted for Portville and planned to make that recommendation to the town board.
Emley also commented on the reorganizational meeting for the East Portville Cemetery, saying that the town board was happy with its outcome. He went on to explain that while the town had been willing to take over the cemetery, the restrictions they would have been forced to operate under would not have been beneficiary to the town.
“I liked the enthusiasm I saw that night,” Emley remarked.
Fischer agreed, saying that “a whole new group of people stepped up to take care of this.”