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Mt. Kisco Solar Farm, Cell Tower Gets Positive Declaration

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A positive declaration was issued for a proposed Mt. Kisco solar farm due to the potential for significant environmental impacts in tandem with a possible cell tower at a 25-acre site in the village.

The Planning Board unanimously voted in favor last Tuesday evening of having applicant SCS Sarles St., LLC undertake the more extensive environmental review at 180 S. Bedford Rd. Homeland Towers has also sought to build a cell tower on the same parcel, although the Village Board continues to explore the possibility of moving it to Leonard Park. The proposed site of record currently remains at 180 S. Bedford Rd. for the tower.

Board Chairman Michael Bonforte outlined several factors that forced the board to decide on a positive declaration, including visibility, aesthetics and community character.

“Personally, I don’t think we’ll see the solar (panels). I don’t think the neighbors will see the solar, but when you put the cell tower in there, I think it’s a moderate to significant impact on a cumulative effect,” Bonforte said.

In reviewing the areas of potential significant impact under the state Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), Bonforte also said that the parcel, which bumps up against the Bedford border, will suffer significant tree removal in what is one of the gateways into the village from I-684.

“All of a sudden to have a site that’s cleared of trees for a cell tower and then the solar site up above the hillside there, it becomes, to me, more than just minor,” he said.

Bonforte also mentioned that community character would be impacted. At its closest point the cell tower would be within 138 feet of Marsh Sanctuary’s amphitheater.

While the board’s vote last week made the longer environmental review official, it did not come as a surprise. In September 2020, the board decided that the two projects be considered in tandem for the purposes of SEQRA.

Then in April, the Planning Board signaled that the cumulative effects of the two applications made it likely there would be positive declaration.

No representatives from SCS Sarles St. or Sunrise Solar Solutions attended last week’s board meeting.

ShopRite Re-approved

The board also voted to issue an amended site plan for the ShopRite supermarket to be built at the Diamond Properties complex at 333 N. Bedford Rd.

Over the summer it came to light that there were several changes with the plan, such as an existing tenant who will remain in a building on that site that had been slated for demolition until the expiration of their lease in August 2027.

Since demolition of that building will not happen at least until then, the developer is unable to align the southern and northern driveways with two condominium communities located across North Bedford Road.

Diamond Properties had also announced in the summer that it had acquired the Kohl’s property, which would provide a third access point to the property.

The board had expressed concern about making waiting until at least the latter portion of 2027 to align the intersections to enhance pedestrian safety on the busy North Bedford Road corridor.

However, Diamond Properties CEO Jim Diamond and his representatives successfully persuaded the board to postpone aligning the driveways because few people are walking to the site. With the supermarket now likely not to be constructed until sometime in 2024, that would mean there would only be about three years from the time ShopRite opens until the alignment can be done.

“It’s actually a limited group of people who walk to the site because it’s really too far to walk from the train station,” Diamond said. “I know it can be done, but it’s not a lot of people who would want to do that on a daily basis, especially in the middle of the winter.”

Under the agreement Diamond Properties has with ShopRite, the developer must complete and open the supermarket no later than Dec. 31, 2024.

The board also granted approvals for a special use permit, change of use, and steep slopes and subdivision approval.

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