Story by Katie Bisaro
Prior to the start of the regular meeting of the Village of Warwick Board of Trustees on Mon., May 21, a joint public hearing was held between the Village Board and the Village Planning Board.
The purpose of the hearing was to consider a Special Use Application for a solar photovoltaic project for Warwick Valley BBA, LLC, located at 28 Church St. (former Georgia Pacific facility).
The large-scale roof-mounted solar energy system requires a special use permit. Several Village entities were consulted on the matter including the Planning Board, the Architectural and Historic District Review Board (AHRB), and the County Planning Dept.
The AHRB determined that the solar panels will not have a visual impact on the surrounding community. The panels only take up approximately 11% of the roof space and are relatively flat to the roof. Additionally, the panels sit only about 10 inches high and are subsequently further hidden by a parapet along the top of the building.
Several notifications and requests for comment were made to the Warwick Fire District for their review but none were received as of the time of the public hearing. The Planning Board had questions regarding roof-top access by the Fire Dept., if necessary, as well as how power to the panels would be turned off.
James Goff, representing system installer Lotus Energy, commented during the hearing that there is roof access to the building as the panels take up only a small portion of the roof. There is a main power switch that shuts the entire system down.
Village of Warwick Planning Board Chairman George Aulen reported that the Planning Board has done a thorough review and the Board was satisfied that all their questions were answered and they had a good understanding of the project.
Mayor Michael Newhard commented that the Church St. project was the “first large solar project in the Village.”
“It’s very exciting to see…we are one of the pioneers of creating solar permitting in New York State so this [the Church St. project] works with us,” Newhard said.
“They [project designers] did an excellent job,” Aulen concurred. “It’s only 11% of the roof, the access is there, the safety margins are there.”
Lt. John Rader of the Warwick Police Dept., in attendance at the meeting, said he would reach out to Fire District officials and ask them to contact both Boards regarding this project.
The special use permit was approved by the Village Board of Trustees, pending review and approval by the Warwick Fire District, in a resolution following the public hearing. The Planning Board will pass a similar resolution approving the project at their next regularly scheduled meeting.
‘Too Good To Toss’ a Successful Event
Elizabeth Knight, on behalf of “Too Good to Toss,” which was recently held at Stanley-Deming Park, reported to the Village Board of Trustees that this year’s event was very successful and the committee has received a lot of positive feedback.
Knight reported that when volunteers arrived at 8 a.m. on Sunday, people had been lined up since 6 a.m. waiting to choose items that had been dropped off and organized the day before. By the end of the day, what little remained was taken away by the Big Brothers-Big Sisters organization. Village DPW disposed of any remaining trash.
Committee member Payton Swenson reported that there were 80 volunteers this year, setting an example for other communities, many of which have reached out to learn how to run similar events.
According to the committee, “Too Good to Toss” was a truly community oriented event, with an estimated 1,000 “shoppers” who went through to choose free items, limited to “what they could carry.”
Bill Green reported that, in general, participants came mostly from the Village or Town – those who were happy to “get rid of” items that they didn’t want to throw away, and those who were happy to “get stuff for free.” He estimated that around 1,000 people went through on Sunday choosing their items, often let in 15 at a time for crowd control.
The committee is looking forward to Town and Village support next year as the event continues to grow.
Howe St. Bridge Closed for Three Months
Trustee Barry Cheney reported that the Howe St. bridge has now been closed for planned repairs and the temporary detour to access River St. has been opened. Signs for the detour are posted in the Village. Repairs to the bridge are expected to take three months to complete.
2017 Water Quality Report Available
Cheney also reported that the annual Water Quality Report for 2017 is now available online at the village website, www.villageofwarwick.org. Paper copies of the report are also available by calling Village Hall at 986-2031, ext. 110.
Mulch Pile is Open
Trustee Eileen Patterson reported that the Village mulch pile is now open at the Dept. of Public Works yard at Veteran’s Memorial Park.
The next meeting of the Village Board of Trustees will take place on Mon., Jun. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall, located at 77 Main St. in Warwick.