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Open Session Minutes

September 23, 2010





STATE AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Department of Agriculture

Market and Warren Streets

1st Floor Auditorium

Trenton, NJ 08625
REGULAR MEETING
September 23, 2010
Chairman Fisher called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. In compliance with the “Open Public Meetings Notice”, the following statement was read:
“Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq., adequate public notice of this meeting has been provided by giving written notice of the time, date, location and, to the extent known, the agenda. At least 48 hours in advance, this notice has been posted on the public announcement board, third floor, Health/Agriculture building, John Fitch Plaza, Trenton, NJ, mailed and/or faxed to the Newark Star Ledger, the Times of Trenton, the Camden Courier Post, and filed with the Office of the Secretary of State.”
Roll call indicated the following:
Members Present
Douglas H. Fisher, Chairperson

Richard Boornazian (rep. DEP Commissioner Martin)

Ralph Siegel (rep. State Treasurer Andrew P. Sidamon-Eristoff) (Arrived at 9:17 a.m.)

Brian Schilling (rep. Executive Dean Goodman) (Arrived at 10:03 a.m.)

Torrey Reade

Stephen P. Dey

Jane Brodhecker

James Waltman


Members Absent

Donna Rendeiro (rep. DCA Commissioner Grifa)

Denis C. Germano, Esq.

Alan Danser

Susan E. Craft, Executive Director

Jason Stypinski, Deputy Attorney General


Others present as recorded on the attendance sheet: Robert Baumley, Heidi Winzinger, Charles Roohr, Paul Burns, Ed Ireland, Timothy Brill, Cassandra McCloud, Daniel Knox, Bryan Lofberg, Dave Kimmel, Patricia Riccitello and Sandy Giambrone, SADC staff, Daniel Pace, Mercer County Agriculture Development Board, Thomas Hower, Governor’s Authorities Unit, Harriet Honigfeld and Amanda Brockwell, Monmouth County Agriculture Development Board, Barbara Ernst, Cape May County Agriculture Development Board, Danielle Dobisch, Burlington County Agriculture Development Board, Katherine Coyle, Morris County Agriculture Development Board, Robert Resker, Warren County Agriculture Development Board, James A. Britt, Bernard T. Britt and Anne M. Britt, Landowners, Mansfield Township, Warren County, Glorianne Robbi, East Amwell Township, Hunterdon county, Nicki Goger, New Jersey Farm Bureau, William Millette, Hunterdon County Agriculture Development Board, Donna Traylor, Sussex County Agriculture Development Board, Ryan Allen Ocean County Agriculture Development Board, Lisa MacCollum, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Christine Landuyt, Celtic Charms Farm, Howell Township, Monmouth County.

Minutes
A. SADC Regular Meeting of July 22, 2010 (Open Session and Closed Session)
It was moved by Ms. Reade and seconded by Ms. Brodhecker to approve the open session minutes and the closed session minutes of the SADC regular meeting of July 22, 2010. The motion was approved (Mr. Waltman abstained.)

REPORT OF THE CHAIRPERSON

Chairman Fisher stated that as he mentioned at the last meeting everyone is getting interested in solar and everyone wants to do a project now. He stated that yesterday he was informed of a net metering project that the landowner wants to install on a preserved farm but could not move forward on that project because they were waiting for SADC rules to be adopted. He stated that we will be hearing more about these types of concerns. He stated that SADC staff is working feverishly with the DEP, the Board of Public Utilities and the Division of Taxation in drafting rules.

REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Ms. Craft discussed the following with the Committee:


  • Warren County Farmland Preservation Event

Ms. Craft congratulated Warren County on its upcoming farmland preservation event, celebrating 20,000 acres being preserved under the farmland preservation program. The event will take place at the Demeter farm in White Township.




  • Dual Appraisal Provision in the Highlands

Ms. Craft stated that the bill passed the legislature and was signed by the Governor extending the dual appraisal provision for properties in the Highlands Region only. That closes the issue of whether the dual appraisal provision was going to continue on all lands. It extends the dual appraisal treatment for Highlands properties through June 30, 2014, or five years from the 2009 deadline. Staff will be sending a memo to all the counties, nonprofits and towns so we can begin to clarify the appraisal process. At this time, the SADC would advise not to conduct dual appraisals any longer outside the Highlands because there is no legislative authority.




  • Right to Farm Case

Ms. Craft stated that the SADC has just concluded its third day of public hearings on the Hopewell Valley Vineyards, located in Hopewell Township, Mercer County. The Township and residents, both for and against operations at the vineyard were present. The winery industry is an evolving industry in New Jersey and this will be a very important case to try to identify what aspects of winery operations are protected under the Right to Farm Act. The submission deadline is about a week or two for any further documents from those that attended the hearing. SADC staff will digest all materials and then draft a hearing report for the Committee’s consideration. The target date is the December SADC meeting.



  • Special Meeting of the SADC

Ms. Craft stated that the Committee held a special meeting last Friday to conclude its work on the Washington Township Municipal Utilities Authority (WTMUA) well case. It has been an issue before the SADC for a while now. The SADC previously found that the proposed taking on the Smith and Searles farm would cause an unreasonably adverse effect and then at the special meeting the Committee concluded its work on that by approving a report that sets forth the SADC’s recommendations. The recommendations essentially were 1) the SADC was not convinced that there were no alternative sources to be used to supply this water, particularly because it is in the Highlands Preservation Area. Recommendation # 1 was to exhaust all other options before drilling wells on these farms; and 2) Coordinate with the DEP to incorporate the ADA review process in to the DEP permit procedures. Ms. Craft reiterated what happened in this case, the WTMUA expended money to drill a well and the ADA process had not even been initiated. The WTMUA was supposed to provide proper notice before spending money on drilling the wells. SADC staff will work with the DEP to see what can be accomplished to ensure that the ADA process is more meaningful. The case is before the Judge on October 1st or 2nd. The application is pending preservation so this condemnation is delaying the process.




  • Comments on the Deed of Easement Guidance Documents

Ms. Craft stated that the SADC has received comments on its deed of easement guidance documents. The deadline for comments was extended to August 30th. The Committee has been provided today with a copy of the comments received. Staff will summarize the comments and as soon as possible, reconvene the Deed of Easement subcommittee. Staff will keep the Committee updated.

COMMUNICATIONS

Ms. Craft reminded the Committee to take home the various articles provided in the meeting binders regarding the WTMUA and solar issues. She stated that Rowen University recently released a study on land use changes in New Jersey and there are some articles provided on that subject. She will summarize the recommendations to report back to the SADC at a later date. She would encourage everyone to read the articles on the land use study.
PUBLIC COMMENT
Robert Resker, Warren County Agriculture Development Board Administrator stated that regarding the dual appraisal issue, it was stated earlier that it is usable in the Highlands. Would that be usable in just the Preservation Area or both the Preservation Area and the Planning Area? Ms. Craft responded it states it would be usable in the Highlands region, so it would be both the Planning and Preservation Areas.
Ms. Reade stated that she received a letter from Nick Cassetta of the Cape-Atlantic Soil Conservation District who also administers the Atlantic CADB in response to the SADC’s budget that was approved at the last meeting. He raised this issue previously and she wasn’t sure if there was anything that could be done. The issue is that there is no administrative funding for the farmland preservation obligations of the soil conservation districts. With the decrease in the construction activity in the state there is not as much Section 251 funding coming into the districts so they do not have the available funding to conduct stewardship activities that they are required to conduct on behalf of the SADC. He is making another plea for some kind of acknowledgement that there ought to be some type of administrative funding for the districts. She stated that she would forward Mr. Cassetta’s letter to SADC staff for review.

Ms. Craft stated that the SADC would need statutory authority to spend GSPT and bond monies to provide administrative costs for staff at the county level. At this time, there is no authority for the SADC to use its funds for those purposes. She stated that staff will review the letter and provide a response.

NEW BUSINESS
A. Proposed New Rules: Draft

N.J.A.C. 2:76-2A.12 Agricultural Management Practice for the Construction, Installation and Operation of Solar Energy Generation Facilities, Structures and Equipment on Farms
Ms. Craft referred the Committee to the draft agricultural management practice (AMP) for the construction, installation and operation of solar energy generation facilities, structures and equipment on commercial farms. She stated that rules must be developed to provide right to farm protection involving solar, wind and biomass facilities. The SADC also has to adopt regulations dealing with construction of these facilities on preserved farms. Today’s discussion will focus on right to farm standards for the construction of solar facilities only.

There has been an interagency Task Group meeting, which is comprised of the NJ DEP, the SADC, the Department of Agriculture, The Division of Taxation and the Board of Public Utilities (BPU). It has been a very helpful and productive process to get everyone’s perspective at one time to try and construct a rule. SADC staff has met with solar providers, wind developers, municipal officials, and representatives of the League of Municipalities to obtain input prior to a rule being introduced to the Committee. Staff would like to review the draft and receive comments from the Committee. Staff will make this draft available to the public on an informal basis and would welcome comments from the public. The goal being to come back to the Committee at its next meeting with a rule that the SADC could approve for publication in the NJ Register for public comment. She stated that if the public would like to comment in the interim, staff would need those comments within the next two weeks so that staff can prepare a final draft to present to the Committee in November.

Ms. Craft stated that this draft AMP comes from a law that was past earlier this year, PL 2009 Chapter 213. That law defined the extent of solar, wind and biomass energy generation that is considered agricultural in scale. She stated that projects that exceed those limits would not be subject to the SADC and the Department of Agriculture’s rules. The law identifies energy generation limits for preserved farms and created parameters for farmland assessment and how much solar/wind can be installed on a farm to retain farmland assessment and to extend right to farm protection.
Ms. Craft reviewed the main provisions of the statute with the Committee. She stated that for preserved farms they cannot interfere with the use of the land for agricultural and horticultural production, as determined by the Committee. The language “as determined by the Committee” is the essence of why the Committee needs to adopt regulations.
On preserved farms the capacity is either 110 percent of the previous calendar year’s demand or up to one (1) percent of the farm, whichever is greater. The one percent includes exceptions areas. Ms. Craft stated that the SADC will have to clarify how to address severable and nonseverable exception areas

Regarding farmland assessment, no more than ten acres can be used and there is a 1-5 ratio so for every acre of land being used for solar or wind facilities you would need five acres in agricultural or horticultural production. There is an absolute upper limit of two megawatts of power being generated. Property owners are to use the land under the solar panels to the extent practicable for farming or pasture. The owner/operator has to have a conservation plan that is approved by the district that addresses certain criteria. Ms. Reade stated that she has never seen a conservation plan that addresses aesthetic impacts. Ms. Craft stated that Ms. Purcell is present today to address the Committee. Ms. Purcell has been working with staff on her end to try and define for us what the conservation plan would actually have to include and then it will be clarified in the new rule. These are the basic farmland assessment components and then the third item in the statute gave right to farm protection to those facilities that comply with the farmland assessment provision.

Ms. Craft stated that projects can be classified as small scale projects that provide power to the farm and the house and large scale projects that involve providers that are interested in providing power to the grid. The proposed regulations are separated into small and large scale projects. Staff is proposing to identify small projects as facilities up to an acre in size. Large scale projects would be over an acre in size and up to the maximum of ten acres and not to exceed the maximum of two megawatts of power.

Ms. Craft referred the Committee to a power point presentation showing small scale and large scale solar projects for comparison purposes. The types of boxes and facilities as shown in the examples were the highest voltages and are the most dangerous so the draft rules are recommending that any of these kinds of transformers, inverters are contained in a locked shed, cabinet or building or enclosed within a steel fence, which seems to be the practice on all systems. Ms. Reade stated that these types of facilities come with many types of shut-off mechanisms. They are set up so that you don’t electrocute anyone. All of the net metering systems are set up so that you are not feeding the grid, except when the grid is feeding electricity into the system. Ms. Craft stated that these are not all going to be net-metering systems. Dr. Dey stated that the solar panels won’t work if you do not have a small amount of electricity coming into the system. That is the only way the inverters will work. Chairman Fisher asked if this would be the pervue of the electrical codes. Ms. Craft stated that for the most part the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) representatives were suggesting that the UCC code is all you need to require in terms of compliance but that is not what we heard entirely from the solar developers. Some were saying it is not specific with respect to areas like fencing so it is one of those questions whether the Committee wants to impose a standard. One or two providers advised staff that they would advocate putting an eight foot chain link fence around the entire facility. Mr. Siegel stated that if we are going to make rules about facilities they should be oriented towards the preservation of agriculture and they must be for an agricultural reason. Mr. Siegel stated that PSEG or the Board of Public Utilities should dictate if a facility requires fencing. Ms. Reade felt that on the small systems a fence is not necessary and it adds a financial burden to the farmer.

Chairman Fisher asked what the need was for the SADC to require a fence. Mr. Siegel stated there should be an agricultural reason, not a technological reason. Ms. Craft stated that the right to farm standards have the power of overriding municipal zoning ordinances. Municipal zoning ordinances are generally intended to protect health and safety of the public in many different ways. That is the balance we are trying to achieve. For every right to farm case, the Committee is obligated to balance the public interest and safety and agricultural aspects. This statute identifies that a ten-acre energy facility is agricultural in nature and the SADC’s standards are trying to deal with appropriate setbacks, screens and noise standards. This is what zoning ordinances do in trying to protect the public.
Ms. Reade stated that there is an electrical code and she can see for a system like the one shown today, which probably doesn’t have people on it often and which is generating massive amounts of electricity where you would want to have some sort of security around the inverters. She felt that you would add substantially and unnecessarily to the cost of a small farm’s installation by insisting that they construct a building around their inverters. She felt that it may not be a necessary requirement for small systems. Chairman Fisher felt this was something that the Committee should not have to address.

Mr. Waltman stated that if the SADC is silent on this issue and a municipality tried to require a fence around a solar facility on farms, what would happen? Would it be deemed a right to farm case and because the SADC doesn’t address the issue does the municipality have a right to regulate the need for a fence? Ms. Craft stated that if the matter is regulated by another state or federal law or regulation compliance is mandatory. She stated that would be the first question. If not, and it becomes an issue, and a town adopts an ordinance that requires a fence around a facility and a farmer doesn’t comply, since it is not addressed in our AMP, it would become a site specific AMP issue. A farmer could come in and seek relief from some aspect of the ordinance that they have to prove is onerous to comply with. She stated that anything that is not in the AMP would be addressed on a case by case basis.
Ms. Craft further reviewed the draft AMP with the Committee. She stated that under definitions the first one is “conservation plan”. This is language that the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources helped SADC staff develop. Ms. Purcell gave a brief presentation regarding conservation plans. Ms. Reade commented on the section of the draft AMP dealing with erosion (page five of draft AMP, item “r”) where it states that the installer shall take appropriate measures to minimize dust and wind erosion, and on the last paragraph on page six, item “I” regarding the conservation plan requiring that all energy generation facilities, structures and equipment, including any subsurface wires, footings or other structures, shall be removed from the property and the restoration of the land shall be done in accordance with the conservation plan to achieve as much agricultural productivity of the land as practicable. She stated that would require inspections and she knows that on some of the megawatt facilities that her district has seen come in, they say they are too small to qualify for the 251 plan so how are the districts supposed to get paid, unless there is an explicit requirement to comply with 251 standards and paying a 251 fee. Ms. Purcell stated that this is a huge issue and that they are addressing this in the 251 program specifically. She stated that there are going to be times where they will need both a 251 plan and a conservation plan as defined in the farmland assessment component of the statute. The 5,000 square feet of disturbance will require a 251 plan. Ms. Reade stated that if the districts are the ones that are going to be responsible for the oversight then they should get paid somehow. She commented that she cannot see how we can rely on them to do that work unless they can be compensated. Ms. Purcell stated that there are issues on the 251 side, one of which is clearly defining what disturbance is. The Department will be very clear and explicit about what disturbance is. She stated that they will be giving districts direct guidance about solar installations specifically as it relates to 251. She stated that they will also be clear about the impervious cover issue, that solar is not considered impervious. She stated that they are doing that with a waiver to expressly say, that although solar panels are not being defined as impervious cover we still have to deal with hydrologic impacts that result from these types of installations. She stated that they are working with the DEP to resolve these issues.

Ms. Craft stated that in the draft AMP everyone is reminded regarding the definition of “commercial farm” and what it means. Therefore, if you are going to comply with this AMP, the definition of “commercial farm” requires compliance with farmland assessment.
Ms. Craft stated that regarding the definition “energy generation facilities, structures and equipment” that is the language that is used in the statute but is not defined in the statute. Here staff is laying out a proposed definition that basically means everything related to a facility.

Ms. Craft directed the Committee to pay particular attention to the definition of “occupy” on page two. Mr. Baumley stated that the statute requires that on a preserved farm, you cannot occupy more than one percent of the land with the energy generation facilities. However, the reference here for farmland assessment purposes is that it cannot exceed ten acres in size. He stated that there is some correlation as to what is encompassed in the ten acres. Mr. Baumley stated that staff is clarifying that, besides the physical structure of the equipment, there are other areas such as roadways, inverter boxes and land in between the rows that may not be farmed. Ms. Craft stated that the approach we are taking here is that “occupy” means that the agricultural activity has been limited because of the presence of the facility. A question for the Committee will be the issue of buffers. If you have a buffer standard and we are requiring someone to plant nonagricultural trees to create a screen, should that be counting towards the ten acres that are being occupied. This definition is important and staff asks that the Committee provides feed back to staff. She stated that staff’s position is that the strips of land in between the solar panels are incidental and may or may not be farmed.

Ms. Craft discussed the definition of “solar energy” with the Committee. She stated that definition is pretty broad for the purpose of allowing technology to change over time.

Ms. Craft reviewed item “C” on page two regarding the mounting of solar panels.
Ms. Reade and Mr. Siegel stated they were confused by the way that section read and suggested that staff revisits that language to clarify its intent to allow concrete footings under certain conditions. Mr. Waltman stated that if there is a way to impact less farmland but it may require putting the facilities on pillars, possibly that is a good idea. He felt that he didn’t know enough to say whether this provision helps farmland or not. Ms. Reade commented that what staff is trying to get at in this provision is that you would only permit more elaborate mountings in the instance of an engineer saying it is necessary. Ms. Craft stated that the language could be simplified. She stated that the concept is that after the Rutgers report that we went through, the worst impact that was identified was soil covered in concrete. So staff was approaching it as that option should only be used if it is absolutely necessary from an engineering standpoint, otherwise we would prefer to see the structure driven into the ground without concrete supports. Chairman Fisher stated that the goal is to not disturb the soil. Mr. Boornazian stated that you wouldn’t need that paragraph if you say drive it and conserve the land as much as possible as a broad statement. He stated that you cannot second guess the engineering companies. Mr. Siegel stated that the idea of this section is that we want the preference to be solar panel systems that involve the least ground destruction as possible. That is a legitimate preference.

Mr. Boornazian stated that he had a different problem with this section. He didn’t think that buildings with solar facilities on their rooftops should be included here. He felt that the intent of the law was tillable acres that you are taking away from farming, and that is where the one percent and ten acres are addressed. He felt that if they have separate facilities on their buildings and their barns that is a separate generation issue. Ms. Reade stated that you need to do that because otherwise people will build buildings specifically to put install panels.

Mr. Siegel felt the word structure under item C-1 was too broad. Ms. Craft stated that she understands Mr. Siegel’s concerns and that it may be advisable to strike the word “structures” on buildings. She stated that staff was trying to incorporate items like the car port that was shown in the presentation to the Committee or say an animal feed lot and someone constructs a cover with solar panels. She stated that it is not on a building so she was trying to open the door to other structures that could support these facilities that are not buildings. Mr. Siegel suggested the word “facilities”. Ms. Craft stated staff would simplify that language and clarify the rationale for the preference in the beginning of that provision.
Mr. Siegel stated that there should be a clear statement in the definition under section “d” regarding farmland assessment eligibility to the applicant that says if your energy project has jeopardized your standing in farmland assessment, that is not an issue that can be addressed in the AMP so that there is a legal warning to resolve farmland assessment issues independently and not use right to farm for that purpose. Ms. Craft stated that additional language can be added to clarify that issue.

Ms. Craft stated that regarding item “h” on page three deals with sound. The towns are very concerned with noise impacts on surrounding properties. She stated that in speaking with some of the installers of these facilities they advised that if you put inverters back far enough sound wouldn’t be a problem but you should have a sound standard so that everyone understands the standard. She stated that what is being proposed in the draft AMP is a sound standard of 30 decibels attributable to the solar facilities at any point of the property line. She stated that the amount of 30 decibels was suggested by one of the installers. That would allow them to choose where to place the inverters, how many and what units of size. Mr. Waltman stated that if we are going to make a statement about this we should not be taking the suggestion from the installers. Ms. Craft stated that public comment will be taken on this draft and then staff will come back to the Committee with a final draft and if it is approved by the Committee it will then be published in the NJ Register and then it will go through the formal rule making process. She stated that if we are trying to expedite adoption of this and the availability of right to farm protection, we want this standard to be good when it goes to the NJ Register.

Mr. Waltman stated that he is uncomfortable with picking a number based on what the industry is telling staff is a good number. Ms. Craft stated to give the Committee a better sense of what 30 decibels would be is that the research that staff has on sound is that a bedroom at night is 35 decibels, background noise in a home is 55 decibels, falling leaves is 15 decibels, whispering is 25 decibels. Mr. Siegel felt that section “h” should be eliminated. He felt that there are local laws to handle sound. Ms. Craft stated that this is for right to farm protection and the farmer may want relief from the local noise standard. She stated that we are being asked to give protection to a technology that we do not understand. We are trying to make this so that if it is done appropriately the public is not going to object. Ms. Craft stated that if we remove this item then the landowner will come in for a site specific AMP to override the municipal sound ordinance. She stated that the SADC is going to get this question and it is going to be one of the first questions that come in if we don’t deal with it in this AMP.

Ms. Craft asked if the Committee wanted to remove this item from the draft AMP and defer to whatever the State regulation is on sound. She stated that the State standard for noise, she believed, was around 50-55 decibels. Mr. Schilling stated he would like to know what the State code for noise would be. He felt however that dealing with this head on makes sense. Mr. Boornazian stated that if you agree with the state standards, that would override any local noise ordinance. Mr. Waltman felt that the Committee should stay out of the way on this issue. If a town has an ordinance and the authority to regulate quiet in part of its town and a solar installation exceeds that ordinance he didn’t think that the SADC should have authority. Mr. Shilling stated that it has been proven that right to farm is not card blanche for farmers, it protects responsible activities. He felt that putting some parameter on what responsible activities means in this case would be helpful. Ms. Craft stated that the reason for putting this in is because 1) to protect the public but also she thought that the installers and the designers should know about this before the installation occurs because if you installed ten acres of solar panels and the neighbors complain about the humming noise it’s too late to reconfigure the facility. The installers should know the standards and avoid the conflict. Mr. Waltman felt that he would not override those ordinances based on sound. He stated that the SADC’s charge is to preserve agriculture in the state and to protect agriculture from regulations at municipal levels.

Mr. Siegel asked if municipalities have the authority to pass municipal ordinances setting acceptable sound levels. Mr. Kimmel stated that in a right to farm case that was one of the issues and he thought it was that the municipality could adopt local ordinances as long as they fell within parameters set by State statute. He stated that he thought there were some agricultural exemptions. Ms. Craft stated that staff will do more research on that issue.


Ms. Reade stated that regarding item “g” dealing with the interconnection, she felt that could be problematic because you can have small farms that are forestalled from having an allocation of grid interconnection by larger projects. She stated that potentially you could have small farm installations and large farm installations conflicting and it could be a right to farm issue. She stated that there is a twenty percent allocation on the utility lines for renewables and there are already communities in the southern part of the state where communities are already turning down the opportunity to interconnect. She stated that you could have someone come in with a two megawatt project that would preclude other farms from coming in and interconnecting. Ms. Craft stated that they are very aware, in the discussions with the Board of Public Utilities and the installers that there is a big race going on among the small projects and the big projects to lock up line capacity, substation capacity, etc. However, that is far beyond the SADC and she doesn’t think that it is ever a municipal decision. It is PJM and BPU who would be making the decision about who gets the line first and how capacity is being reserved.

Ms. Craft discussed provision “i” dealing with security with the Committee. She stated that this section deals with securing inverters and other system components by a locked structure, whether it is a building, steel cabinet, etc. It was the consensus of the Committee to remove item “i” from the draft AMP.

Ms. Craft discussed provision “k” Treatment of Land within the Occupied Area with the Committee. She stated that this deals with what are you allowed to do on the soils surrounding the solar panels. She stated that regarding item # 2 regarding the use of gravel within a contained area for the purpose of providing ballast, staff is still trying to get more information on that however, the BPU representative suggested during discussions that gravel is used for ballast.
Dr. Dey commented on section “o” regarding setbacks and buffering. He stated that regarding item # 3 dealing with energy generation facilities, structures and equipment that are installed on the ground and occupy one acre or less of the commercial farm complying with the setbacks as listed in the draft document. He asked if existing projects would be grandfathered in. He stated that he knew of a few units that were on farms for legitimate reasons that are closer than 150 feet to the road. Ms. Craft stated that this is a question that has come up with the SADC’s deputy attorney general on a different case. She asked if she could hold that question until after there is a discussion regarding the whole concept of grandfathering and whether it has a role in right to farm or not.

Ms. Craft discussed the remainder of the draft AMP with the Committee. She stated that the document will be circulated to all the counties, towns, nonprofit organizations and the partners, along with everyone that staff has met with and corresponded with in getting to this point for informal comment. We will be asking for comments within a two-week period so that it keeps moving forward. Once the SADC has received comments it will be redrafted and presented to the Committee at its next meeting, hopefully for its approval.


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