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Board Approves Sale For Proposed Solar Array

The sale of a 35-acre parcel of land was approved by the Carroll Town Board this week. Town Supervisor Russ Payne said the site is the proposed location for a solar array. P-J photo by Jay Young

FREWSBURG — The Carroll Town Board approved the sale of a 35-acre parcel of land at 1715 Wahlgren Road, which is expected to be the site of a new solar array.

Sunnyland LLC, a local solar firm, presented a purchase offer of the former Vac-Air site for $50,000, which was approved and will be finalized if no permissive referendum is needed.

“The plan is to have that property turned into a solar array location,” Town Supervisor Russ Payne said. “The company, Sunnyside LLC, is out of Lakewood. It was the brush dump at one time, prior to that it was a parcel used by the former Vac-Air as a chemical deposit. It ultimately became a Brownfield site, the state came in and cleaned the property up properly.”

The site entered the Brownfield Cleanup Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which can be used to promote the redevelopment of properties that have been used as hazardous waste disposal sites.

“With former DEC Brownfield sites, the state of New York is encouraging townships like the town of Carroll to put those properties back on the tax rolls, and they’re not good for construction of anything,” Payne said.

Any residents opposed to the sale will have to file a petition as the first step in a permissive referendum, which would then bring the issue up for a vote in the November. The sale of the property is one avenue the town is pursuing in order to deal with the expected sales tax shortfall resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Payne said that the town has been in contact with Chautauqua County officials on the issue, and is better positioned than some municipalities to handle the drop in funds.

“Moving forward we anticipate there is going to be a 30% cut in sales tax revenue due to the sales COVID-19 pandemic,” Payne said. “That would in effect cost the town of Carroll about $90,000 (in a budget year). We’ve been creative in the past about keeping reserve funds. We’re pretty confident that we can absorb the loss with revenue that is anticipated.”

The board also discussed State Senate Bill S7919, which covers a range of new executive powers for the governor during disaster situations and makes a $40 million appropriation available for the coronavirus response. In other business, the town is preparing to put up signage to lower the speed limit on Bunce Road from 55 mph to 40 mph, after a traffic study was conducted by the New York State Department of Transportation. Town cleanup day will be May 16, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the board also approved the appointment of Deputy Clerk Julie Burkett to a code enforcement assistant position.

The town has set up a mask drop-off and pickup station outside of the Frewsburg municipal building, which has aided residents in obtaining masks during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We’ve had that throughout the duration of the last few weeks and it was very successful, well-received,” Payne said.

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