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Copake refines its position on Hecate solar project

Aug 20, 2020 2:45 pm
Diane Walden is reporting for The Columbia Paper Copake town officials are formulating a strategy to prevent the construction of Hecate Energy's industrial-sized 60-megawatt solar facility on 500 acres near the County Route 7 and State Route 23 intersection in Craryville. The first step involves changes to Copake's zoning code. Based on the existing zoning law, the Hecate project is 50 times the size of a permissible utility facility. The code changes underway are being managed by Benjamin Wisniewski, an attorney out of Rochester, retained by the town to represent its interests during the Hecate application and review process. The company is looking for approval for its Shepherd’s Run facility from the state Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment instead of the town Planning and Zoning boards. At a special meeting of the Copake Town Board on July 30, Wisniewski said a revision to the town’s 2017 solar energy law could “better advance the town’s planning goals and objectives and … advance various state and local farmland protection policies.” He said, “it may be appropriate to strengthen Copake’s law to ensure local planning objectives are honored, community character is preserved and farmland protection policies are complied with.” The draft 17-page revised solar law was introduced by town attorney Ken Dow at the board’s August 8 meeting. A public hearing on the revised law will be held before the board’s September 10 meeting. The board may act on the law that night or in October. Copake Deputy Town Supervisor Richard Wolf said August 8, Hecate Energy Columbia County formally filed its Preliminary Scoping Statement with the Siting Board earlier that week. Wolf said the company's statement is currently under review. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.