Two public hearings set for board’s Sept. 13 work session
By Terry Duffy
Lewiston Town Board members held a routine but eventful session Monday.
Included was a public hearing to consider a ground-mounted utility-grade solar energy system at 2634 Ridge Road by applicants Kevan Thompson and Janelle Uderitz of DG New York CS III LLC. This represents the latest proposal the town has considered following its earlier lifting of a moratorium on commercial-grade utility solar installations.
With very warm weather that evening, a limited number of Ridge Road residents were on hand to speak. All were opposed to the idea. Issues raised were similar to concerns heard at earlier solar public hearings.
Mary Jane Dylan said, “I bought that house 35 years ago; it’s changed with improvements some and that’s what we want. We don’t want any developments.”
The resident told the board she was concerned about being encroached on three sides of her property by the proposed development and wished for the things to remain as-is.
Others spoke of the potential visual impacts a solar project would bring.
Town officials also heard briefly from a representative of the applicants who said the siting of the ground-mounted solar panels was purposely being shifted back from Ridge Road to address visual issues. The town announced it would be talking no action that evening as it further reviews other matters on the proposal.
On a related matter, the town announced it would hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, to consider another solar energy proposal – the Caldwell Solar Farm on Route 31. More information is expected to be available on the town’s website, www.townoflewiston.us.
In other news:
•The session included a detailed activity update by Melinda Olick, director of the Town of Lewiston Senior Center. She told the board that, following the COVID-19 disruptions of the past year, the site has seen a very welcome increase in its activity.
“I thought I would give a bit of a rundown on the center from January to the end of July,” Olick said. “We had 915 seniors come in and play bingo; we had 572 come to our yoga class; 1,325 attend Silver Sneakers; 423 come to resistance band exercise; and 151 quilters, crafters and knitters come in.
“I thought that would be a positive, feel-good thing to talk about today.”
She also told the board the Senior Center’s van service has been busy with combined medical and lunch transports for area seniors – more than 100 rides in total.
Supervisor Steve Broderick welcomed news of the Senior Center’s rebound. “We’ve done a lot with the Senior Center; there’s good things happening,” he said.
Broderick announced the Highway Department is continuing its repaving work on the Senior Center’s parking lot.
•The town announced Deputy Supervisor Bill Conrad has resigned his long-time position as chair of the Planning Board, effective immediately.
“He is going to remain as deputy supervisor, but is going to resign the Planning Board. The Planning Board is a big commitment; we have a lot of things going on,” Broderick said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to find someone as capable.”
The town is accepting letters of interest from interested applicants to fill Conrad’s position. For more information, visit the town’s website or call Town Hall at 754-8213.
•Town Finance/Budget Direct Director Jacqueline Agnello announced work is now underway toward developing the town’s 2022 budget, with contacts being made to all town departments for their input.
“Our first tentative budget I’m hoping to have presented to the board at the Town Board meeting of 9-27, due to the state by 9-30,” Agnello said.
•Broderick reported the first commemorative Lewiston bicentennial coin is now sold-out following strong sales at the recent Lewiston Art Festival. The town’s second coin, which will commemorate the Frontier House, is expected to be available by Aug. 28.
“They really are nice; I’m looking forward to the Frontier House,” Broderick said.
•Councilman Jason Meyers announced a public hearing would be held at the Town Board’s Sept. 13 work session to consider a proposed small cell telecommunications law. The measure is expected to consider such areas as the siting of towers, town procedures and future establishing of fees and schedules to conform to federal regulations governing 5G cellular service.
The proposed law is scheduled to go on the town website in the near future.