By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
The Grand Island Planning Board Monday recommended approval of a solar power plant on a 42-acre parcel fronting Whitehaven Road.
The board voted 5-1 for both a site plan revision and a special use permit.
The solar array project is planned for 1611 Whitehaven Road (northwest of the power substation) in a parcel zoned residential.
Kristin Savard of Advanced Design Group represented the developers, Cameron McDonald, and Tom Guzik of Solarpark Energy.
Final approval for the site plan and special use permit comes from the Town Board, which will meet Monday at 8 p.m. in Town Hall and hold a public hearing on the matter.
Frank Greco was the lone "No" vote in both votes, citing concerns with the setbacks.
Sue Tomkins, a member of the town's Conservation Advisory Board, which also considered the project and recommended approval, pointed out Grand Island's solar law says development of a solar power plant should minimize the removal of trees and vegetation. She said this project might require removal from the property of large white oaks "that Grand Island is famous for." She concluded that the project "is not a great example" of the first utilization of the town's new solar law.
The Planning Board also received a presentation, but took no action, regarding phase two of the Heron Pointe project, an apartment complex under development on Grand Island Boulevard.
Anthony Cutaia, owner of Rane Property Management, and attorney Sean Hopkins discussed with the board plans to add another 156 apartment units to the already 200-plus approved and under construction in phase one.
Phase two would add another 19 eight-unit buildings and one four-unit building.