TOWNOF JOHNSTOWN PLANNING BOARD

JULY10, 2018
6:00P.M.
TOWNHALL
MEETING NOTES

PRESENT:

ERIC VANALSTYNE, CHAIRMAN

RICHARD GOEBEL, VICE CHAIRMAN

RICHARD LYNAUGH,

ERNEST NIFOROS

MIKE MCGRAIL

TONY AMBROSINO, ALTERNATE

TODD UNISLAWSKI, CODEENFORCEMENT OFFICER

SEAN M. GERAGHTY, SR. PLANNER

I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER:

Themeeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m.

II. APPROVE MINUTES OF LAST REGULAR MEETING:

MOTION: Toapprove the minutes to the May 8, 2018

meeting.

MADE BY: Tony Ambrosino

SECONDED: Richard Goebel

VOTE: 6in favor, 0 opposed

III. RANDALHART, JR. – SPECIAL PERMIT FOR ANIMAL HUSBANDRY ALONG COUNTY HIGHWAY 107:

Background:

RandalHart, Jr. would like to keep chickens on his property along County Highway 107in the Town of Johnstown (Tax Map Parcel No. 175.5-14-1). Mr. Hart’s property is approximately 1.1acres in size. He would like to have a8’ x 12’ chicken coop with a fenced-in pen along with a smaller 5’ x 5’ coopwith a fenced-in pen. Both structuresare to be situated on the back portion of his property. Mr. Hart’s property is located in an R-2Residential District and since his property is not 2 acres in size, he isrequired to obtain a Special Use Permit from the Planning Board.

Planning Department Review:

Avery rudimentary sketch plan has been provided on a tax map showing theproperty along County Highway 107. Thedimensions of the property are identified along with the approximate locationsof both proposed chicken coops. Whilethe Town’s Zoning Law has Supplementary Regulations for Animal Husbandry, thereare no Supplementary Regulations for Animal Husbandry activities that require aSpecial Use Permit. Given the nature ofthis application, the following information should be provided on a finalsketch plan of the property:

1. The maximum number of chickensthe applicant intends to keep on his property should be clearly defined.

DISCUSSION: County Senior Planner Sean Geraghty askedMr. Hart how many chickens he intended to have on his property?

Mr.Hart indicated that he will be keeping 47 chickens on his property.

2. The setback distances for eachof the chicken coops should be identified on a scaled drawing.

DISCUSSION: The Planning Board agreed that the finaldrawing should show the setback distances for the chicken coops.

3. A notation should be made onthe final drawing indicating that the chickens will not be allowed to roamfreely around the property.

DISCUSSION: Mr. Hart explained that the chickens willall be kept inside one of the two (2) coops on his property.

Mr.Geraghty indicated that a note should be included on the final drawing statingthat the chickens will not be allowed to roam freely.

4. A notation should be made onthe final drawing indicating how the chicken coops will be maintained andspecifically how waste will be handled.

DISCUSSION: Mr. Hart indicated that he periodicallyremoves waste from the property.

Mr.Geraghty asked if any of the waste material would be stockpiled?

Mr.Hart indicated that it would not.

5. The approximate location ofhomes on adjacent properties should be identified.

DISCUSSION: Planning Board Member Dick Lynaugh askedthe applicant if he had a rooster?

Mr.Hart indicated that he no longer has a rooster on his property.

State Environmental Quality Review:

The proposedAnimal Husbandry action is essentially an agricultural farm management practiceinvolving the construction of a farm building under generally-acceptedprinciples of farming and should be considered a Type II Action under the StateEnvironmental Quality Review Act.

DISCUSSION: The Planning Board was comfortable withclassifying the proposed action as a Type II Action.

Planning Board Action:

Inaccordance with Section 84-54 of the Town of Johnstown Zoning Regulations, thePlanning Board shall hold a public hearing on a complete Special Use Permitapplication within sixty-two (62) days from the determination of the PlanningBoard that the application is complete. Does the Planning Board feel that it has enough information to schedulea public hearing at this time?

MOTION: Toschedule a public hearing on Randall Hart, Jr.’s Special Permit for AnimalHusbandry along County Highway 107 for 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, August 21, 2018.

MADEBY: Mike McGrail

SECONDED: Eric VanAlstyne

VOTE: 6 in favor, 0 opposed

IV.STUMP CITYBREWING, LLC – PROPERTY TRANSACTION ALONG FULTON STREET EXTENSION:

Background:

StumpCity Brewing, LLC (Nicholas Sherman, Matthew Sherman, Casey Oare, JerrySherman) received both a subdivision and a Site Plan approval for a farmbrewery project along West Fulton Street Extension in the Town of Johnstown onAugust 12, 2014 from the Town of Johnstown Planning Board (Tax Map Parcel No.148.-1-15.22). The lot that was createdas part of that subdivision approval for the farm brewery is approximately 1.05acres in size. After the applicantsconstructed the access driveway for the brewery building, it was discoveredthat the driveway actually crossed over onto the original tract of land. The applicants would now like to redefine theproperty boundary along the driveway so that the access driveway is entirely onthe same property as the farm brewery.

DISCUSSION: Mr. Geraghty reminded Board members thatStump City Brewing previously received both a subdivision and a Site Planapproval from the Board for their small brew house operation along West FultonStreet Extension. He explained that theapplicant’s recently discovered that the access driveway for the new businesswas actually constructed over a portion of the adjacent parcel and they wouldlike to amend the property boundary. After a brief discussion, the Planning Board agreed that the proposedtransaction did not need to be reviewed under the Town’s SubdivisionRegulations and could be approved as a lot line amendment.

PLANNINGBOARD ACTION:

MOTION: Toapprove Stump City Brewing’s property transaction along West Fulton StreetExtension as a lot line amendment.

MADEBY: Richard Lynaugh

SECONDED: Mike McGrail

VOTE: 6 in favor, 0 opposed

V. JOHNSTOWN 2SOLAR, LLC – SPECIAL PERMIT FOR SOLAR FARM ALONG COUNTY HIGHWAY 122:

Background:

Johnstown2 Solar, LLC would like to construct a 2.7 megawatt DC Solar Farm on a propertyalong the east side of County Highway 122 that is owned by the Town ofJohnstown (Tax Map Parcel No. 148.-2-78). The property is approximately 21.3 acres in size. The Town’s animal shelter is located on theproperty. The Solar Farm willphysically alter approximately 13.4 acres of the property. An existing access road will be used for boththe construction of the Solar Farm and the eventual maintenance and operationof the facility.

DISCUSSION: Elie Schechter, C2 Energy Capital,introduced himself to the Planning Board and explained that his firm now has ownershipof the Lease Agreement with the Town. Hepointed out that C2 Energy Capital is a private investment firm out of New YorkCity that invests in clean energy projects. He explained that when New York State changed its laws a few years back,it required utility companies to accept the energy generated in community SolarFarms. He explained that the energycredits for this particular project will be disbursed to any local users whowant to purchase solar-generated power. Mr. Schechter then introduced John Munsey, P.G., C.T. Male Associates,to explain the project.

Mr.Munsey quickly reviewed the size and various components of the proposedproject. He pointed out that the Town’sproperty along County Highway 122 has variable topography and vegetation throughoutthe site. He pointed out that the polesshown along the access driveway will be for metering and monitoring of thefacility with a few of the poles owned by C2 Energy Capital and the othersowned by National Grid. Mr. Munsey explainedthat the applicant is proposing to install solar panels that are no more than8’ in height. However, he pointed outthat, because of the irregular topography, a variance may need to be requestedfor the height of the panels. Mr. Munseyindicated that his office is currently working on preparing a StormwaterPollution Prevention Plan (SWPP) for the project. He indicated that a wetlands analysis of thesite was conducted and there are no wetlands on the property.

PlanningBoard Chairman Eric VanAlstyne asked what the anticipated elevation levels arefor the solar panels? He questioned how muchthe site would need to be raised up as part of the installation of thepanels?

Mr.Munsey indicated that he didn’t believe the site would be raised up verymuch. He indicated that no new fill willbe brought into the project site but rather an attempt will be made to fill inholes throughout the site and balance out the topography.

PlanningBoard Member Mike McGrail pointed out that, in the past, the Planning Board hasasked that some type of turnaround area be established near the location of themechanical equipment so that large vehicles can easily access the facility ifneeded and do not need to back out of the site.

Mr.VanAlstyne agreed and pointed out that the Board has typically asked that theturnaround area be located outside of the fenced-in area.

Planning Department Review:

TheFulton County Planning Department has reviewed the Special Permit applicationin accordance with Article 10 of the Town of Johnstown Zoning Regulations. Article 10 states that a Special Use Permitshall not be granted until the Planning Board finds that the followingcriteria, as well as any special criteria, have been met:

1. Harmony with Master Plan

2. Compatibility

3. Access, Circulation and Parking

4. Infrastructure and Services

5. Environment and NaturalFeatures

6. Long-term Effects

Article 8 Section 84-45B of the Town Zoning Law outlines the special criteria that applies to Solar Farms. Based on this review criteria, the following information must be provided by the applicant:

1. Blueprints or drawings of thesolar photovoltaic installation signed by a licensed professional engineershowing the proposed layout of the system and any potential shading from nearbystructures.

STATUS: Provided.

2. Proposed changes to thelandscape of the site, grading, vegetation, clearing and planting, exteriorlighting, screening vegetation or structures.

STATUS: Provided.

DISCUSSION: ThePlanning Board had no questions regarding the proposed layout of the site.

3. A description of the Solar Farmfacility and the technical economic and other reasons for the proposed locationand design shall be prepared and signed by a licensed professional engineer.

STATUS: A project narrative has been provided. The narrative does not provide anyinformation concerning the economic or other reasons for choosing this proposedlocation.

DISCUSSION: Mr.Geraghty pointed out that, given the fact that the applicant in this case isleasing property from the Town for a community solar project, it is fairly selfexplanatory what the economic reasons are for choosing this particularproperty. Planning Board members agreedand did not ask for any additional clarification.

4. Confirmation prepared andsigned by a licensed professional engineer that the Solar Farm complies withall applicable federal and State standards.

STATUS: Provided.

5. One or 3-line diagram detailingthe Solar Farm layout, solar collector installation, associated components, andelectrical interconnection methods with all national electrical code compliantdisconnects and over current devices.

STATUS: A 3-line electrical diagram has been providedas part of the application package.

DISCUSSION: TownCode Enforcement Officer Todd Unislawski indicated that he would like to spenda little more time looking at the 3-line diagram that was provided. He asked that larger drawings be provided forhis review.

Mr. Munseyapologized for the small drawings. Heindicated that he thought that full-size drawings were delivered for the Boardto review. He indicated that he wouldmake sure full-size drawings were provided for the Board’s next meeting.

6. Documentation of the majorsystem components to be used including the PV panels, mounting system and inverter.

STATUS: Provided.

7. An operation and maintenanceplan which shall include measures for maintaining safe access to theinstallation, stormwater controls, as well as general procedures foroperational maintenance of the installation.

STATUS: Provided.

DISCUSSION: Mr.Schechter indicated that his company, C2 Energy Capital, will be responsiblefor all operations and maintenance activities on the site.

8. Information on noise (inverter)and reflective/glare of solar panels and identify potential impacts toabutters.

STATUS: Provided.

DISCUSSION: Mr.Geraghty pointed out that fairly comprehensive details for the types of equipmentto be installed on the site have been provided as part of the applicationpackage. The Planning Board did not askfor any additional clarification regarding noise or reflective glare.

Minimum Requirements:

Article8, Section 84-45D outlines the minimum requirements that all Solar Farmdevelopments must conform with. Inaccordance with those minimum requirements, the following issues must still beaddressed:

1. All mechanical equipmentassociated with the Solar Farm must be enclosed within an 8’ high fence with aself locking gate.

STATUS: A 7’ perimeter fence is shown on the sitedetails sheet. The height of thedouble-panel swing gate has not been identified.

DISCUSSION: BothMr. Munsey and Mr. Schechter indicated that the specification for the fencingwould be changed.

2. Warning signage must be placedat the base of all pad-mounted transformers and substations. This signage specification should be shown onthe detail sheet.

DISCUSSION: Mr.Munsey indicated that he would add the signage information to the detailsheet. He noted that the warning signswill also need to be posted on the perimeter fence.

3. The distance between thenearest edge of the solar panels and the adjacent residential properties mustbe identified on the Site Plan drawings.

DISCUSSION: Aftera brief discussion, the Planning Board agreed that the distance between thesolar panels on the south side of the property and the residential propertyowned by Mariane Courtney must be identified on the final drawing.

4. An elevation drawing showingany Solar Farm mechanical equipment, shelters, storage facilities,transformers, substations, etc. must be provided on the detail sheet.

DISCUSSION: Mr.Munsey and Mr. Schechter indicated that they would show an elevation drawingfor the mechanical equipment.

5. The location of signageidentifying the owner and operator with an emergency telephone number must beidentified on the Site Plan drawing and the detail sheet.

DISCUSSION: Mr.Unislawski indicated that the Town typically asks that the signage identifyingthe emergency contact information be located near the entrance gate.

6. At least one parking space mustbe clearly shown on the Site Plan drawing and the location of any emergencylighting near the mechanical equipment should be noted.

DISCUSSION: ThePlanning Board, once again, briefly talked about the need for turnaround spaceoutside of the fenced-in area surrounding the mechanical equipment.

Mr.VanAlstyne noted that if a large vehicle is sent out to the site on anemergency call and then doesn’t need to get inside the facility, the PlanningBoard would like the vehicle to have a turnaround area so that it does not haveto be backed out of the site.

7. The applicant will be enteringinto a Lease Agreement with the Town of Johnstown to build the Solar Farmfacility along County Highway 122. Aspart of the project, the applicant is required to submit a Decommissioning Planwith an engineer’s estimate setting forth the costs associated with decommissioningthe Solar Farm. The applicant’s costestimates for removing the Solar Farm infrastructure based on a 2.5% inflationrate in 20 years is $132,100.70. Thisestimate is lower than previous Solar Farm projects in the Town that have beenreviewed by the Planning Board. Oncemore, the applicant’s lease term with the Town has a primary term of 35years.

DISCUSSION: Mr. Geraghty pointed out that, onprevious Solar Farm projects, the estimated cost to decommission a site after20 years has been around $150,000 for a 2 megawatt system, similar to the onebeing proposed on the Town’s property. Mr.Geraghty reminded everyone that, in the past, the Town has made it clear thatit does not wish to be in the salvage business and does not care what the valueof the solar panels and associated equipment will be 20 years from now. Mr. Geraghty went on to explain that, onprevious projects, applicants have used a similar 2.5% inflation rate or haveused the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to gauge how much the financial suretyshould be after 20 years. Mr. Geraghtypointed out that his concern with the current cost estimate for theDecommissioning Plan is that the plan is based on a 20-year escalation ofproposed costs, while the applicant has a 35-year lease with the Town. Mr. Geraghty indicated that this issue willneed to be addressed as part of the Decommissioning Plan. He also suggested that the applicant contactthe Town Attorney, Leah Everhart, who will ultimately be responsible for makingsure that the financial surety paperwork is acceptable to the Town.

Mr.Schechter indicated that he would attempt to contact the Town Attorney regardingthis matter.

State Environmental Quality Review:

Section 617.1 of6 NYCRR states that, the basic purpose of SEQR is to incorporate theconsideration of environmental factors into the existing planning, review anddecision making processes of State, regional and local government agencies atthe earliest possible time. Toaccomplish this goal, SEQR requires that all agencies determine whether theactions they directly undertake, fund or approve may have a significant effecton the environment, and if it is determined that the actions may have asignificant effect, prepare or request an environmental impact statement. Under these terms, the review of a SpecialPermit application is subject to SEQR. Therefore, the following issues must be addressed:

1. Does thePlanning Board feel that the Full Environmental Assessment Form, provided bythe applicant, has been completed adequately?

DISCUSSION: The Planning Board felt that the FullEnvironmental Assessment Form had been completed adequately.

2. Does thePlanning Board feel that any additional information should be provided as partof the SEQR process?

DISCUSSION: Mr. Geraghty pointed out that the applicanthas already received feedback from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation andHistoric Preservation and the NYS Department of Environmental ConservationNatural Heritage Program.

3. Section617.6 (b)(3) of 6 NYCRR states that, when an agency proposes to directlyundertake, fund or approve a Type 1 or Unlisted Action undergoing a CoordinatedReview with other Involved Agencies, it must, as soon as possible, transmitPart 1 of the Environmental Assessment Form, completed by the Project Sponsor,or a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and a copy of any application that has been received to all InvolvedAgencies and notify them that a Lead Agency must be agreed upon within 30calendar days of the date the Environmental Assessment Form or DEIS wastransmitted to them.

DISCUSSION: Mr. Geraghty indicated that he would stillattempt to coordinate the SEQR review with the NYS Department of EnvironmentalConservation and the County Highway Department but would probably notcoordinate with the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation sincea decision has already been rendered by the Agency on this particular project.

MOTION: To classify the proposed project as anType I Action and to propose that the Town of Johnstown Planning Board act asthe Lead Agency for the purpose of issuing a determination of significanceunder SEQR and to offer other Involved Agencies 25 calendar days to comment onthe proposed action or the Town Planning Board’s proposal to act as the LeadAgency.

MADEBY: Mike McGrail

SECONDED: Ernest Niforos

VOTE: 6 in favor, 0 opposed

Planning Board Action:

Inaccordance with Section 84-54(D)(7)(a) of the Town of Johnstown ZoningRegulations, the Planning Board shall hold a public hearing on a completeSpecial Permit application within sixty-two (62) days from the determination ofthe Planning Board that the application is complete.

DISCUSSION: Mr.VanAlstyne asked if additional landscaping will be needed around the perimeterof the site in order to block the view of the solar field?

Mr.Munsey pointed out that the site is fairly heavily wooded around the perimeterand that he didn’t believe any additional plantings would be necessary. He noted that the tree line near the adjacentresidential properties will be left approximately 80’ in width.

Aftera brief discussion, there was a general consensus among Board members that noadditional plantings would be needed on the property.

MOTION: Toschedule a public hearing on Johnstown 2 Solar LLC’s Special Permit for a SolarFarm along County Highway 122 for 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, August 21, 2018.

MADEBY: Richard Lynaugh

SECONDED: Mike McGrail

VOTE: 6 in favor, 0 opposed

VI.CLOSE OF THEMEETING:

MOTION: Toclose the meeting at 6:35 p.m.

MADEBY: Richard Lynaugh

SECONDED: Tony Ambrosino

VOTE: 6 in favor, 0 opposed