The Examiner

Community Solar Project Proposed at Mt. Kisco Cemetery

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Sunrise Solar Solutions President Doug Hertz discussed a proposal for a community solar area on a portion of the Oakwood Cemetery site during the Jan. 18 joint meeting of the Mount Kisco Village Board of Trustees and Planning Board.

A proposal for a community solar power project on a portion of the Oakwood Cemetery on Lexington Avenue received generally favorable comments during a joint Mount Kisco Village Board and Planning Board meeting last week.

The project is proposed by Sunrise Solar Solutions, LLC of Briarcliff Manor on about 4.2 acres of the northern portion of the cemetery’s property. Sunrise Solar Solutions President Doug Hertz, who is the Planning Board chairman, addressed the two boards last Thursday evening. He said he would recuse himself from the project review.

Hertz said community solar is a system where mounted solar panels are installed at a specific location and power is generated into the grid. Energy subscribers within the utility territory can have the solar power credited to their accounts, he said.

Solar power is typically less expensive than what a utility charges, Hertz said. Con Edison is the utility that provides energy to Mount Kisco.

The project also includes a plan to create a garden on the site which would reduce pollution.

The village is one of a number of municipalities whose zoning code does not address solar panels, Hertz said. He asked the Village Board to consider a solar farm overlay district to allow community solar use.

While the boards were largely supportive of the project, the main concern was the tree removal that would be necessary. Trustee Karen Schleimer said taking down trees troubled her and that the land would be better utilized as open space.

It was not known last week how many trees would have to be removed at the cemetery to accommodate the project.

Planning Board member Ralph Vigliotti said he was also worried over losing trees. The land should be preserved as green space, he said.

The boards agreed to Vigliotti’s request to schedule a site visit.

Trustee Peter Grunthal said he supported the project because increased solar power is needed to reduce the risk of climate change. Oakwood Cemetery needs the additional revenue Sunrise Solar Solutions would pay to lease its land, added Trustee Jean Farber, who also supports the project.

Trustee Isi Albanese said community solar appears to be a positive for the village but he first wanted to take the site visit before supporting the project.

Mayor Gina Picinich, whose major concern also was tree removal, called on Hertz to submit his proposal to the village’s Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) and Tree Preservation Board for their comments. Picinich said she was uncertain if creating an overlay district was the right approach.

Hertz said he would ask that the CAC and Tree Preservation Board be added as interested parties.





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