SALAMANCA — A Pennsylvania company is proposing to build a 21.6-megawatt solar farm on 65 acres in the town of Salamanca.
The site is nearly a half-mile long, parallel to Route 353 and the Pat McGee Trail, running from a spot behind the Salamanca Town Hall to Town Line Road.
Salamanca Supervisor Timothy Jackson is looking for reaction to the proposed solar farm from town residents, including those living along Route 353, who would be closest to the facility.
The property, owned by Farm East LLC of Cortland, consists of a combination of farmland and woods. Jackson was unsure of how much woods would have to be cleared to accommodate the solar site.
Jackson said representatives from OurGenerations have met with members of the Salamanca Town Board and members of the public, who live closest to the proposed site.
Jackson said Farm East LLC had contacted OurGenerations last year to see if the property is suitable for a solar farm.
The town has no zoning laws or a solar local law to guide officials, Jackson said. Meanwhile, there has been some blowback from residents along Route 353, he added.
Ed Ebert said after the leaves fall, he and his wife, Jaimee, would be able to see the solar farm from the back deck of their home. He said it would be very close to the Pat McGee Trail.
Little Valley Creek also runs through part of the proposed site.
Ebert said, in addition, he was afraid the solar farm would impact the value of his home and possibly raise taxes.
“I am personally very against it,” he said. “Someone wants to ruin my view.”
In other locations along Route 353, there are more trees to block the view of the proposed solar farm.
His wife added: “Part of the reason people move to this area is that they don’t have to see industrial solar farms like this. I don’t want to see it off my back deck.”
Jackson said the town board will convene a meeting next month to hear how town residents feel about the solar facility. No date for the meeting has been set.
“I’d like to hear from town residents what they think about the proposal,” Jackson said, asking residents to either email him at email@example.com or telephone him and leave a message at 945-2541.
Comments can also be sent to Town Clerk Shelly Bryant at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone, 945-4775.
Jackson said that while the solar farm would not be on the property tax rolls, it would require a payment in lieu of taxes (P.I.L.O.T.) agreement with the Cattaraugus County Economic Development Agency.
The IDA has a $6,000 per megawatt P.I.L.O.T. that is divided between the school district, county and town where the facility is located. The lion’s share goes to the school district followed by the county and the town.
Jackson said everything will depend on people’s response to the proposal.
“If we don’t get any responses and people don’t care or if they believe the taxes will be beneficial to the town” the town board would take that into account, he said.
He added, however, “The IDA has said if we don’t want it, they won’t approve it.”