EnvironmentGovernmentThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Residents Throw Shade on Proposed Solar Farm in Cortlandt

We are part of The Trust Project
By Rick Pezzullo

A proposed solar farm the length of three football fields that would be a stone’s throw away from several homeowners in the Town of Cortlandt is not being welcomed in the neighborhood.

Since the project, located within a nearly 58-acre forest on two parcels along Red Mill Road and the end of Mill Court, first surfaced last year and during recent hearings, residents have expressed their displeasure over CVE North America’s plans to clear cut 2,800 trees and install 9,504 solar panels.

Rick Ribeiro, a 25-year resident of Mill Court whose backyard abuts the site, told the Cortlandt Planning Board in late August the development was simply “a money grab.”

“This project is a failure before it even starts,” Ribeiro remarked. “It is not the feel-good project CVE is trying to portray.”

In response to criticism and suggestions, CVE has modified its original layout to where only 15 acres will be disturbed, along with 547 fewer trees. It also reduced the number of solar panels from what was envisioned at 11,592.
CVE representatives have touted the environmental benefits of producing clean energy from the 4 MW solar farm and explained the area was chosen because it is situated within the ConEdison electric utility territory.

It also has stressed the monthly electric discounts an estimated 1,061 local residents could receive by subscribing to the facility.

However, residents have countered the $123 annual credit residents would get is not worth the permanent damage that will be done to the property that is home to countless wildlife and open space for hikers and bikers.

Wendy Taylor of Watson Street called the site “a vulnerable sitting duck” and argued the electricity credit was “not a fair exchange.”

Nancy Young, a 28-year resident of Mill Court, whose property borders where the solar farm is planned, insisted the value of homes in the area will decrease if the project is approved.

“Projects of this nature do not belong in residential areas,” Young said. “It’s a project being proposed for the wrong location.

This is not a project with limited impact. Its impact will be for more than 100 years. We are going to be the losers here.”

CVE has estimated the solar farm would be built in six months and has a lifespan of between 25 and 30 years.

Meanwhile, the Cortlandt Town Board is considering passing a resolution for “a nine-month pause” in respect to Tier 3 Ground Mounted Solar Farms.

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