CONSTABLE — Town officials on Thursday voted to sign a revised lease agreement with Helios Energy Group that would allow the company to build a 6- to 8-megawatt solar facility on the town’s former landfill on Miller Road.

The board had been scheduled to sign the agreement last month, but postponed action because of concerns over the wording of some of the provisions of the lease.

In the revised agreement approved Thursday, town officials agreed to cut down all the trees around the proposed solar farm. In exchange, Helios agrees to keep up with snow removal and grass cutting.

The trees around the landfill have already been cut down and Constable Supervisor Richard Onufer said they will reuse as much of the wood as possible.

“The wood that did come down, some of it we can possibly use for heating purposes for the town garage,” said Onufer.

The landfill property has a total of 30 acres, approximately half of which is forested. The landfill itself only occupies about 7.2 acres; the town also has a sand mining pit sited on five acres of the site.

Snow clearance on the property had been one of the key sticking points that resulted in the signing delay. Town Board members had been worried about both the clearing and questions about what would happen if some of the solar panels were to be damaged. The revised agreement addressed those concerns.

Board members also requested that the town have a key and access to the landfill site once the solar array is constructed.

The next step for Helios is to conduct a feasibility study of the property. The project is expected to take about 18 months to complete. The lease agreement runs for 35 years, with the agreement subject to renegotiation at the end of that time.

As a result of Thursday’s vote, two solar projects will be underway in the town simultaneously.

The Franklin County Industrial Development Agency earlier this week gave the final approval to an $11 million solar farm to be built off Route 122 in Constable by Toronto-based OYA Solar.

That project is expected to be completed sometime in the spring.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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