The Examiner

Oakwood Cemetery Solar Panel Array on Verge of Approval in Mt. Kisco

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The entrance to Oakwood Cemetery in Mount Kisco, where a four-acre solar panel array could be approved next week.

By Sean Browne

The Mount Kisco Planning Board authorized its village planner last week to draft a resolution for a potential approval of Sunrise Solar Solutions’ solar panel array on a portion of Oakwood Cemetery.

Representatives from Sunrise Solar Solutions met with the Planning Board to continue discussion regarding its application for site plan approval, a special use permit and a wetland permit last Monday. A vote could take place on Mar. 12.

The Briarcliff Manor-based solar panel installation company is proposing a 3,600-panel array on four acres in the cemetery’s northern portion. The proposal would generate about 1.7 gigawatt hours of power annually, enough energy to provide 200 Mount Kisco homes with electricity each year.

Oakwood Cemetery would lease the four acres for 25 years as a way to generate revenue.

Mount Kisco Village Planner Jan Johannssen said Sunrise is up to date with all requests from the village.

“The applicant has provided responses to any comments made by the members of the board and any member of the Mount Kisco Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) and any comments made in the public hearing,” Johannssen said. “They have also submitted both parts of the Environmental Assessment Form (EAF).

He said neither Westchester County nor the Town of New Castle submitted any comments regarding the project.

Last week, board members asked Sunrise to provide them additional visual analysis of the panels from vantage points on Lexington Avenue and at St. Francis Cemetery.

“This is being done because a comment about it was raised by either a member of the CAC or a member of the public,” said Planning Board Vice Chair John Bainlardi.

Scott Blakley, senior principal landscape architect at Insite Engineering, provided the board with a visual representation of where the panels would be in proximity to St. Francis Cemetery.

“There is a section in the furthest point of St. Francis where you will (see) a portion of the solar panels,” Blakley said. “We propose some landscaping along that section and install a visual buffer.”

Blakley suggested waiting until after the panels are installed to determine the type of landscaping and its extent. The landscaping plan would most likely add shrubs along the border between the two cemeteries, he said.

St. Francis of Assisi parish sent a letter to Sunrise stating it had no objections to the project, according to Blakley and the Planning Board.

Blakley said the issue with Lexington Avenue was how visible the panels would be from some of the apartments across the road. A building would need to be at least 60 feet, as much as six stories high, in order to see the panels, he said.





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