A postcard survey will be sent to households in the Town of Columbia to gauge viewpoints on the proposed Columbia Solar and Storage project.
At their meeting last week, Columbia Town Board members said having some feedback from residents would give the town some leverage in going forward.
Because the project by EDF Renewables falls into the category of large-scale projects, New York state allows all permits and regulations to be set by the state rather than the local municipalities.
Still, Councilman H. Ed Reed said having that information from a survey could be passed on to state representatives. He noted that in the audience of about 30 people for the meeting was Assemblyman Robert Smullen, whose 118th District as of Jan. 1 will include the Town of Columbia.
Smullen, who lives near Gloversville and was elected an Assemblyman in 2018, said he is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after 24 years. He has an office in Herkimer and is introducing himself to his new constituents after winning re-election unopposed.
Smullen said he disagrees with and voted against the law that took away local decision-making on large renewable energy projects.
Reed said even though the town is unable to weigh in with a vote, it would be a good idea to see how residents stand. For the past few Board meetings, members of Protect Columbia, an organized group with concerns over the project, and town residents against it have been attending town meetings.
In discussion Board members said they wanted to keep the survey simple. Reed said three choices - yes, no or no opinion - on the solar project in the town would…