TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
TUESDAY, 11/9/2021, 7:00 PM
MEMBERS PRESENT: PAT RICE PHIL STRAND
RICHARD JOHNSON JOHN WARNER
GARY WINGER BRANDON VANCURAN (alternate)
OTHERS PRESENT: Stephanie Gibbs, Dick Sena, Don McCord, Randall Feinen, David Beers, Cameron Knowles, Dale Robbins
- PAT RICE OPENED THE MEETING AT 7:00 PM.
- ASHVILLE E-Z SELF STORAGE PROPOSAL
Mr. Feinen said he was there if there were any questions. He said he isn’t sure where the town was at with the storage project. He said his son Brandon had told him that Mr. Lawson said possibly only allowing the existing building to be remodeled not allowing an additional building to be built on that parcel which would not make it feasible. Mr. Feinen said if the town really does not want it, he isn’t going to try to force the issue.
Mr. Robbins said the process they are requesting at best would be 2-3 months. He told Mr. Feinen he recommends possibly tying to get a variance opposed to a zoning change. He said there is a very difficult standard for a variance, but it has less town wide applications than spot zoning would have.
Mr. Rice said he would have to talk more to Brad about that.
Mr. Feinen said he thought they were applying for a variance.
Mr. Robbins said if he is applying for a variance, he would recommend having an attorney to represent him.
Mr. Rice said he would recommend continuing to pursue this and looking more into it.
Mr. Geist said we really need to get the opinion of the residents in that area.
Mr. Rice said we have a building that is starting to fall apart.
Mr. Strand asked if the gentleman that ran the old grocery store was the owner of the building. He said he believes if he is he should be responsible for maintaining that building and if he doesn’t maintain it, he thinks the town through a process can get the building demolished.
Mr. Robbins said he isn’t aware of any building code in the town that would allow it to be demolished.
Mr. Sena said building the new buildings they don’t think it fits with that location. He said maybe doing something with the old building would be okay.
Mr. Feinen said nobody is going to make money with that building.
Mr. Sena said the spot zoning issue came up so to make it storage it would be a zoning issue.
Mr. Feinen said good luck
Mr. Sena said thank you for his interest in the town.
- GALEHEAD DEVELOPMENT-SOLAR COMMENTS
Mr. Knowles introduced himself and said this is the first time being in North Harmony. He said he works for a company named Galehead and has worked there for about 2 years. He said they have an active solar project with national grid. He said they have been working on it for about a year and a half and have made significant progress with National Grid and have an interconnection agreement with them.
Mr. Beers introduced himself and said he was part of the family that owns the property.
Mr. Rice asked where the property is located
Mr. Beers said on the corner Butts Rd. and Open Meadows Rd. on the south side, and it is a 135-acre property.
Mr. Knowles said the agreement with the Beers family for solar covers around 35 acres. He said they saw the solar draft and noticed the town was not considering solar in the AR district and the parcel they are working with is in the AR district but right on the boarder of the AG district which is approved for tier 3 solar. Mr. Knowles said they are trying to see if the board can be agreeable to potentially update the language to include this parcel or other parcels that are on the edge of the AG district. He said he doesn’t have a specific suggestion he just wants to know about that parcel because they are far along with the project especially with national grid and that usually the hardest part of the project to get through. Mr. Knowles described the plan to the board.
Mr. Johnson asked if there will be any storage facilities.
Mr. Knowles said no there will not be. He said they will be hooked right into the lines and there will not be any batteries on sight. He said they have a decommissioning plan in place and will be posting a bond so the town will have the reassurance that the project will be cleaned up and maintenance will be upheld. Mr. Knowles said their will not be any toxic materials used in the project.
Mr. Robbins said something we need to think about is this project is not far from Goose Creek and Goose Creek takes a lot of water into the lake so the boards may get a lot of questions on what impact the runoff is going to have. He told Mr. Knowles he thinks it is important for him to be prepared to address that.
Mr. Knowles said they do want to know if they are considering allowing solar on this parcel.
Mr. Rice said personally he is not in favor of expanding solar into the AR district. He said this parcel might be better suited in the AG district.
Mr. Knowles said they will be clearing cutting 25 acres and leaving the tree around it for screening. He said they don’t have runoff in their plan, but they will accommodate that for the town and will have their civil engineer plan for that. Mr. Knowles asked if the town would consider including a stretch of road to allow solar.
Mr. Rice said he thinks we need to move on.
Mr. Knowles asked what the town needs on his part.
Mr. Rice said it needs discussion.
- BATTERY ENERGY STORAGE LAW
Mr. McCord said he would like to go over any potential questions on this law. He said he has all the changes made that were suggested at last months meeting. Mr. McCord went through the law with the board.
Mr. Rice said he knows some batteries are more dangerous that others. He asked if there was a way to make them go into a more dangerous storage such as a fireproof building.
Mr. McCord said yes.
Mr. Sena recommended putting a decal on the windows if the structure has solar to warn the fire department.
Mr. McCord said on page 20 9A they 36 months to 24 months.
Mr. McCord asked what the boards opinion was on solar in the area that Mr. Knowles is questioning.
Mr. Rice said he is against allowing it into the AR residential district. He said Brad indicated this property should be an AG district. He said if we are going to allow it, he would rather change the district.
Mr. Winger said it makes sense to keep it out of AR and maybe be a little flexible on redefining where the AG district is.
Mr. McCord said this location if they are taking down 25 acres of trees and it is on a hillside he is worried about erosion, and it doesn’t sound like they have done their research on how they will deal with those issues. He said we can make changes bit it may bot be feasible in the end.
Next regular meeting scheduled January 11, 2021, at 7:00 P.M. (No meeting for the month of December)
- ON A MOTION MADE BY MR. GEIST, SECONDED BY MR. JOHNSON AND NONE BEING APPOSED, THE MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 8:30 PM
Deputy Town Clerk