Two recent turn of events have at least temporarily paused the proposed solar farm and cell tower projects at a 25-acre parcel in Mount Kisco.
Sunrise Community Solar, the company that proposed a solar array for a portion of the land at 180 S. Bedford Rd., informed the village on Apr. 9 that it has withdrawn its application for the project.
Meanwhile, Homeland Towers continues to explore alternative sites for a 145-foot monopole that was proposed to address coverage gaps along the Route 172 corridor. Last week, Homeland and the village agreed to extend the deadline for a second time for the Mount Kisco Planning Board to make a final determination.
Under federal telecommunications law, municipalities have 150 days to decide on the merits of a cell tower proposal from the time of the application’s submission unless both sides agree to an extension. In February, the village and Homeland agreed to extend the tolling agreement to Apr. 14. The parties have now extended it to May 28.
Opposition has swelled against the projects since last summer when it became known that the cell tower was also being considered for the site. Despite the turn of events, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the 25 acres will remain free from the proposed projects.
Sunrise Community Solar informed the village in a letter that it was withdrawing its application for a 2.5-million-kilowatt ground-mounted solar array on the property located near Sarles Street “without prejudice,” said Village Attorney Whitney Singleton. He said use of that phrase makes it possible for the firm to re-submit the proposal or a revised application.
“The letter stated without prejudice and I’ll just note that that means they can still return to the Village of Mount Kisco with another plan, with a new application,” said Acting Planning Board Chairman Michael Bonforte. “While they have withdrawn, they can still come back to us for that site.”
Singleton was hesitant to speculate on the reasons for the withdrawal but anticipates that the applicant will return.
Homeland Towers has identified two potential alternate sites for its proposed cell tower, both in the Town of Bedford. Several weeks ago, it was revealed that 22 Linden Lane, a privately-owned residential property, was being explored by the applicant. Its representatives have also indicated they are evaluating Guard Hill.
Singleton said Guard Hill is an excellent location but has limitations because of deed restrictions. Linden Lane is a viable site that has better access, higher elevation, few trees to clear, no steep slopes and a greater distance from homes.
Ultimately, it’s not Mount Kisco’s responsibility to evaluate the alternative sites.
“The general operating parameters is that they need to demonstrate that this area has a significant gap in coverage, which they have provided a lot of information, and the Planning Board hasn’t determined that there is or there isn’t, but they’ve provided a lot of information, and then they need to establish their proposed location at 180 S. Bedford Rd. is the least intrusive alternative,” Singleton said.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/