Town of Columbia residents have received a survey asking their thoughts on the proposed mega-Solar Energy and Battery Storage project.
Columbia Councilman H. Ed Reed said at last week’s Town Board meeting that the surveys put together by the Planning Board and Town Board was sent to all town residences. About 750 of them, on bright yellow paper and including a stamp for return mail, were sent.
About 10 had been mailed back as of the meeting. Deadline to respond to the four questions is April 15.
After the deadline a group will compile responses and give the data to the Town Board. Reed said the official results will be shared on the Town’s website, Facebook page and at the May 11 Town Board meeting.
The survey asks residents to share their views of the proposed 350-megawatt Columbia Solar Energy and Battery Storage project by developer EDF Renewables. The company will outline more of the 2,200-acre project at an Open House and Presentation event Tuesday, May 9 at Francesca's Banquets in Ilion starting at 5 p.m.
Because the project is considered a mega one, New York state’s rule passed in 2021 allows the developer to skip local permit approval and deal directly with the state. Survey results will help the Town gauge local opinions to share with the state.
At the annual Association of Towns meeting Reed attended in February, he read a letter to town representatives explaining how the state had done away with Home Rule in large commercial wind and solar projects. He said many town representatives were unaware of the state’s law.
Last week’s meeting, with about 25 people attending, began with continuation of a public hearing that opened at the February meeting. The hearing regards whether the Town should put a 12-month moratorium on all commercial solar projects while the town’s regulations are reviewed for possible updates.
Reed said the day after last month’s Town meeting, the proposed moratorium was sent, as required, to Herkimer County. The county had 30…