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Site Plan Approved For Ellicott Solar Project

A proposed solar array project in the town of Ellicott has received its approval from the town’s zoning board of appeals.

The board formally issued a negative declaration required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act during a meeting last week and approved a site plan to Storke Renewables LLC.

The Springwater, New York-based company is looking to place solar panels on 50 acres of a 96.5-acre parcel of land at 3365 N. Main St. Ext. and near the Chautauqua County-Jamestown Airport.

The town has been the lead agency for the required SEQR process. Before issuing a declaration, the board had to thoroughly review the company’s environmental assessment form — or EAF — which describes the proposed action, its location, its purpose and its potential impacts on the environment.

The board concluded the project “will not have any significant adverse effect on the natural, cultural and social resources of the state of New York and/or health, safety and welfare of the public and is consistent with social and economic considerations brought to its attention.”

The negative declaration and site plan approval will allow Storke Renewables to move forward on the project, which had been discussed by zoning board members since at least December of last year. The plan calls for two arrays on adjoining land along North Main; according to information provided previously, panels on the northern array would produce a little more than 2 megawatts of power, with the southern array producing a little less than 2 megawatts.

Power generated from the panels would be sent to two nearby existing substations.

Rebecca Toner of Storke Renewables last went before the zoning board in May. The discussion at times became contentious due to what William Duncanson Jr., town attorney, noted were several sections of Storke Renewables’ environmental assessment form that had yet to be completed. “I do not think you want to go forward with an EAF that is in that poor of a submission,” he said at May’s meeting. “That’s up to you.”

“I understand that, but if you’re saying that there are parts missing in here that you need, I need to know what parts those are,” Toner answered.

After further discussion, Toner said she would come back with completed EAF documents. That paperwork was reviewed prior to last week’s meeting and led to the negative declaration and site plan approval.

There are several solar projects currently in the works across Chautauqua County. Many, if not all, have gone to the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency for financial assistance.

Toner could not be reached for comment regarding the North Main Street project.

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