Last week, neighbors near the location of a proposed solar farm pushed back on the project after finding out that the property owner is also considering leasing part of the land to a tower company, reported The Examiner. Since the 25-acre parcel is in the Conservation Development District, residents argued that the Mount Kisco Planning Board should review the two proposals — for the solar farm and tower — simultaneously to assess environmental impact.
It wasn’t until the Planning Board posted information about the solar project on its website on July 10, that residents learned the tower project had been “snuck in” according to one resident. Homeland Towers approached Mount Kisco officials about using roughly 4,000 square feet of the farm parcel for a tower, but has yet to submit a formal application, reported The Examiner.
According to an attorney for Sunrise Community Solar, the company proposing the solar farm, the two projects are unrelated and not contingent upon each other. “Neither ‘action’ depends upon the other in order to be constructed. They are presented by unrelated entities and have separate timelines for construction,” wrote attorney William Null.
Residents lodged repeated objections over the tower project during the July 14 public hearing. Resident Rex Pietrobono, who lives nearest to the proposed land, was on board with the solar farm but stated the “clandestinely expanded” use of the land for a tower is a deal-breaker.
“They basically just killed the deal as far as I’m concerned by not disclosing previously the overall plan,” Pietrobono said. “They basically just segmented it, and not only just segment it, they tried to justify it, too, which is just absurd to me.”
Regarding the environmental review, Steven Waldinger, an attorney representing 86 single-family homeowners belonging to the nearby Mount Kisco Chase Homeowners Association, noted the combined environmental review defies laws. He said the two projects’ segmented evaluation is inconsistent with the state Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and the municipality’s zoning ordinance.
“It is clear that the Planning Board’s review of the solar farm without considering the impacts of the potential cell tower application at the same time, or any other use of the remaining acreage of the property, constitutes segmented review,” Waldinger said.
The Examiner reported the Planning Board Chairman said the board and its counsel would analyze the segmentation issue. The hearing was adjourned until August 11.
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