The former Deferiet Paper Mill on Anderson Avenue in Deferiet. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — The Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency is working with the state to determine if the old St. Regis Paper Mill in Deferiet could be used for a solar project.

The JCIDA board is expected to approve a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, with state Energy Research and Development Authority, known as NYSERDA, to conduct a feasibility assessment of the property, consisting of a series of dilapidated buildings that once made up the paper mill.

The JCIDA board plans to discuss the arrangement with NYSERDA during its monthly meeting Thursday morning. The board will consider the MOU with NYSERDA, according to the board’s agenda.

Under the NYSERDA program, the property would have to be “build-ready” for a solar project. If it can be turned into a solar project, the property would be transferred to the JCIDA and a “selected developer” for the project would be sought, according to the JCIDA agenda.

Four parcels at the old paper mill in the town of Wilna would be considered for a solar project, according to the JCIDA.

Depending on the feasibility study, Jefferson County would foreclose on the property with its current owner, Deferiet Development LLC, which took over the paper mill in 2005 after the plant closed the previous year.

Deferiet Development owes several years of back taxes to the county and other taxing jurisdictions.

NYSERDA would retain a consultant to conduct Phase 1 of the environmental review of the property and proceed with a Phase 2 of the study of needed.

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