Saturday, July 7, 2018

Mark Your Calendars

In March, Gossips reported on a plan being proposed by East Light Partners to site a solar array just beyond Hudson's border with Greenport, on what's called Vapor Trail, the road created when the Kaz factory on Route 9, now occupied by Flanders, was built in the late 1990s. The partners--Jamie Fordyce and Wendy De Wolf--characterized the proposed site as "not land in agricultural production," next to a factory and next to a prison. What they didn't say was that the land, although currently not in agricultural use, has been identified as "Farmland of Statewide Significance."

Historic Aerials 1952 courtesy Historic Hudson
What they also failed to note was that the part of the prison adjacent to the site was actually the grounds of the Dr. Oliver Bronson House, a National Historic Landmark.

Image from National Park Service NP Gallery
Months have passed without hearing anything about this project, and it was hoped that efforts to dissuade East Light Partners from pursuing this site had been effective, but recent developments suggest that is not the case. A letter from East Light Partners, dated June 28 and addressed to "Dear Neighbor," describes the site as "the fields between the Flanders Building and the former St. Lawrence Cement plant," asserts that "given the topography and natural vegetation that exists on the property, most of the solar farm would not be visible from the road or other key vistas in the area," and invites the recipient of the letter to an "information session about the project" in the Community Room of the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street, on Tuesday, July 17, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Gossips has also received word that the project will be on the agenda of the Greenport Planning Board on Tuesday, July 24. The Greenport Planning Board meets at 7:30 p.m. at Greenport Town Hall, 600 Town Hall Drive.


  1. If approved by Greenport, the project will then come before the Columbia County Planning Board. That Board's action is recommendation only, but does have some influence on the final outcome. Strangely, the public almost never attends these meetings.

  2. It’s not strange, because the County Planning Board pretty much always sides with the developer. So people rarely bother going.

    (Same is true of a lot of boards around here... They make a mockery of public input, then complain that no one shows up for meetings anymore.)

    For decades County Planning was run by right wing libertarians who believed zoning was theft and un-American.

    I don’t know that it has changed much, and can’t think of an example of a situation when they sided with concerned citizens... Maybe there are 1-2 examples, but those would be the proverbial exceptions which prove the rule.

  3. Too bad that Greenport will be reviewing the solar proposal, there is little chance that their Planning Board will do a thorough job. Forcing Holcim / LaFarge to clean up their mess and siting the solar field on that site would be the best outcome.