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Lewiston Town Board sets public hearings on water rates, solar moratorium

Fri, Sep 1st 2023 11:10 am

By Terry Duffy


At Monday’s regular meeting, Lewiston Town Board members addressed various town operations with the setting of two public hearings; they also heard some clarification on the town’s agreement with Modern Disposal.

Leading off with Modern, Supervisor Steve Broderick presented a motion intended to address the grant funding issue for the new totes Modern would provide to town residents.

“Basically we talked about it at our last meeting,” Broderick said. Modern and the town reached agreement where the company would cover the cost for all the new totes “in their entirety. … And that any future grant (applied for by the town for this purpose) would go towards Modern.”

“Usually, it’s a 50% grant,” Broderick said of the town’s applying for this type of funding. “So, we have an agreement with Modern that our attorney has approved. And basically it’s just to approve the agreement and allow the supervisor to sign it.”

Soon after, the board, without comment, approved the motion. Broderick said the agreement is available for review at Town Hall for those who may have questions.

Moving to public hearings, the board approved a session set for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, to consider Local Law No. 3. The measure seeks to amend language contained in A-367-44 – the town’s current water usage law – intended to address discrepancies found with the in-district and out-of-district billing rates approved for the Niagara County Water District.

Commenting on its purpose, Town Attorney Alfonso Marra Bax said, “It took out the process by which out-of-district water rates were set for out-of-district users. To do that, we have to modify the language very slightly to include the Town Board has the ability to set in-district and out-of-district water rates.”

As to its impact, Broderick said that, with Local Law 3, “A-367-44 water rates set is hereby deleted in its entirety and replaced with the following: ‘A-367-44 water rates set. The Town Board … shall from time to time set water rates for both users within the water district … and for users outside of the water district. Said user rate shall be established separately by Town Board resolution and shall made publicly available by the Town of Lewiston Water Department.”

Once passed by the board and signed by Broderick, the law will become effective immediately upon filing with the secretary of state.

Town residents are welcome to offer their comments to the proposed change on Sept. 11.

The second public hearing concerns a moratorium sought by the town covering the operation of solar energy systems/farms. Introduced by Councilman Rob Morreale, it covers, “new applications/approvals and/or construction/installation on solar energy systems or solar farms”

The motion went on to be unanimously approved. According to town language contained in Article XXVIII Solar Energy Systems in Sect. 360-214 (found on the town website) under Findings, “the Town Board finds a growing need to properly site all types of solar energy systems within the Town of Lewiston to protect residential, business areas and other uses, to preserve the overall beauty, nature and character of the Town of Lewiston to promote the effective and efficient use of solar energy resources, and to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the Town of Lewiston.”

The measure goes on to state, “Solar energy systems deplete land for other uses, introduce industrial usage into nonindustrial areas, and can pose environmental challenges and compete with other activities; and

“Solar energy systems need to be regulated from permitting through construction and ultimately their removal when no longer utilized.”

The measure considers such definitions as the applicant; construction of a building-integrated solar/photovoltaic (BIPV) system; a building-mounted solar energy system; an electrical energy storage device; a ground-mounted solar energy system; the property owner; a rooftop-mounted solar energy system; solar energy equipment; a solar energy system; solar panel; solar sky space easement; and a utility-scale solar energy system. In the last title, it considers such issues as whether the type of operation supplies energy; if it is connected to a supplier, its location, if the operation occupies a footprint of greater than 5 acres; and whether it meets the definition of a utility scale system and should be subjected to requirements.

The entire document is available on www.townoflewiston.us, and would be the topic of discussion at next month’s hearing.

In other actions:

•The board will provide $15,000 in funding to help the Historical Association of Lewiston cover a $52,000 roof replacement at the Lewiston Historical Museum on Plain Street. The appropriated money would come from the town’s B Fund.

•The board approved a $7,700 bid by Steve’s Heating and Air Conditioning for installation of a new $7,700 Lennox furnace/AC unit in Town Hall. Morreale said the town has been having problems with the older unit and it was time for a replacement.

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