Solar project site plan gets OK

Solar panels stand in a field covered by snow Wednesday at OYA Solar Inc. in Clayton and Orleans. Emil Lippe/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — A Canadian company can move forward with a controversial solar energy project on a Wayside Drive farm after the town of Pamelia Planning Board approved the project on Wednesday night.

The Planning Board unanimously approved the site plan for the $8 million solar project that OYA Solar, Inc. proposed on Wayside Drive, but with conditions.

Planning Board Chairman Walt VanTassel said OYA will not be able to use Wayside Drive as an entrance to the property. Instead, the company will have to use a nearby private access road used for an AT&T tower, or build a road from Route 12.

“That’s the main condition,” he said. “But there are some other little ones.”

About 20 people attended the meeting that lasted about 2½ hours.

Some neighbors expressed concerns about the traffic that would be generated by the solar array and its impact on the condition of the road if Wayside Drive was used to get on the property. The solar project will sit on the dead end street about 200 to 300 yards from people’s homes.

OYA also will have to use different setbacks and existing utility poles for the project.

The company will have to submit new plans when it submits a building permit because of the conditions imposed on the project, Mr. VanTassel said.

A group of Wayside Drive residents has asked for a moratorium on solar projects after they came out in opposition to the project near their homes that will encompass 18,760 solar panels on 36 acres of farmland.

Opponents wanted the moratorium until the Town Board establishes a comprehensive solar energy law. Town officials told the neighbors that they will look at putting an energy law into effect.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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