You may wonder where Part 1 is. It is written and ready to go, but Blogger, for reasons unknown, is preventing me from inserting photographs. Because this post is not as dependent on photographs, it is being published first.
The second Common Council ad hoc committee to meet last night was the one pursuing the idea of creating a solar farm on City-owned land. The original plan was to use a parcel of land on North Second Street, owned by the City, just north of Charles Williams Park. At the last meeting of this ad hoc committee, Hilary Hillman and David Konigsberg of the Conservation Advisory Council presented the idea of making the solar farm pollinator friendly, and the committee seemed open to that idea. Council president Tom DePietro said he would pass the information on to Peter Bujanow, Commissioner of Public Works, who will be preparing the RFP (request for proposal).
Last night, the scope of the proposed project had expanded to include a second parcel: the capped landfill at the end of North Second Street. The landfill, although located in the City of Hudson, was actually a county dump, and if the City wanted to take ownership of the capped landfill for use as a solar farm, it would have to assume all liability for the former landfill. For at least thirty years, no mayor or Common Council has been willing to do that, but it seems things have changed. DePietro questioned the reluctance of former mayors, saying, "What was that about?"
Putting solar panels on the landfill is not a new idea. In 2016, Ron Knott, who then was and still is Stuyvesant town supervisor and chair of the county Public Works Committee, proposed renting the landfill to Monolith Solar to create a community solar array estimated to serve thirty-five households. That proposal was not enthusiastically received by Hudson supervisors Don Moore (Third Ward) and Sarah Sterling (First Ward) or by Peter Paden, then executive director of the Columbia Land Conservancy. The lede in an article about the proposal that appeared in the Register-Star on April 28, 2016, read: "A proposal to erect solar power panels on Hudson's capped North Bay landfill appeared to die in committee … after facing opposition from two Hudson supervisors and the Columbia Land Conservancy." The following is quoted from that article:
At meeting's end, Peter Paden, executive director of the Columbia Land Conservancy, asked to address the committee. He said the CLC has been working with the city and county for years, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to test the concept of whether the North Bay could work as recreation and natural area.
"It's an extraordinarily beautiful place," he said. It provides Hudson with close connection to thousands of acres of woods and trails and a walk to beautiful areas of Stockport.
"The grassland on that landfill could be an important grassland bird habitat," he said, "which is important and rare."
Bujanow, who said he had met with Knott and gotten surveys of the property, reported, "Since five years ago, you don't have to penetrate the cap" to install solar arrays. There are, it seems, a lot of other considerations regarding using the landfill for a solar farm that haven't gone away "since five years ago."
Bujanow told the committee he would have a rough draft of the RFP for installing solar panels on both parcels--the area north of Charles Williams Park and the landfill--for the committee's next meeting. When reminded of the CAC's request that the solar farm be pollinator friendly, Bujanow said, "That's something to consider. I will explore that a little."
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