By Michael DePietro
Interim Tribune Editor
Plans involving a proposed solar energy facility on Lockport Road took a few steps forward at Wednesday night’s Town of Niagara regular board meeting. The project first gained traction at last month’s board meeting, after board members authorized Supervisor Lee Wallace to sign a non-binding letter of intent. The letter allowed solar energy firm Nexamp Inc. to begin a study for a proposed solar energy project at a former Niagara landfill property owned by the Town of Niagara and located at 4798 Lockport Road.
At the meeting’s onset, the board passed a resolution “revising and extending the Public Health State of Emergency as a result of the impact of the COVID-19/coronavirus retroactive from April 17, through June 30.” Wallace said the decision was made as a precaution.
The board went on to pass four resolutions regarding the solar project. The first issuing a negative declaration for the “construction of solar energy facility on town-owned property.” A second authorized the municipality to enter into a lease option agreement and ground lease agreement with Nexamp for development on the property. That agreement stipulates “the developer will pay the sum of $500 upon the signing of the option agreement, $250 per month during the development and construction period, and $3,360 per acre once the facility is operational.”
The board also approved two more resolutions – the first allowing the town to enter into pilot agreement with a total pilot payment to be distributed to the town, county and school district in the amount of $23,520 in year one, and increasing 2% per year during a total period of 15 years; and the adopting of a decommissioning plan and bond agreement.
Although a public hearing was held at the start of the meeting, another resolution to approve the rezoning of the property from R-1 (single-unit residential) to H1 (heavy industrial district) was tabled citing legal advice from the town attorney. The item will remain open through next month.
Other resolutions passed included:
•A resolution to approve the combination of lots requested by owners of 9695 Porter Road and adjacent vacant/undeveloped parcel.
•A resolution requiring any developer, contractor, public utility or property owner who commences work on or in a town right-of-way, street or easement to have in place a policy of general liability insurance, with underground hazard coverage, with the coverage minimum amount being $1,000,000, and the Town of Niagara cited as an additional named insured on the policy. A certificate of insurance evidencing proof of such coverage shall be provided to the building inspector prior to commencement of the work.
•A resolution to award the Belden Center Drainage Improvement Project phase 2 – Rhode Island Avenue Contract No. 2020-1 to NFP & Sons Inc. in the amount of $479,425.
The next Town of Niagara board meeting is 6:30 p.m. June 16. Additional location information will be announced in the near future.