A proposed wind turbine manufacturing facility on property owned by the Town of Cortlandt in Verplanck that some town officials were hopeful could spearhead some economic development has been withdrawn.
Supervisor Linda Puglisi and the rest of the Cortlandt Town Board were notified of the decision about the so-called Port Cortlandt plan October 13 by the head principles of AKRF, a consulting firm that was part of the development team.
“Our plan was the result of extensive community engagement over the course of a year, including numerous virtual meetings, public presentations, site tours, and a public website. We were inspired by many supporters who shared our vision to promote large-scale renewable energy to address climate change, create local jobs/significant economic opportunities, and secure additional long-term revenues for the Hendrick Hudson School District,” AKRF President Michael Lee and Vice President Anthony Russo stated in their correspondence.
“Our team worked hard to respond to and incorporate the town’s and community’s feedback at every stage; we repeatedly updated site plans, illustrative renderings, and technical analyses, and we remain certain that sustainable, large-scale clean energy is a key component of New York’s future,” Lee and Russo continued. “With the challenges of Zoom meetings and lack of in-person workshops, the ability to communicate this were limited. However, out of our overwhelming respect for the local community, and in consideration of the invaluable perspectives shared with our team, we will suspend our efforts at this time.”
Port Cortlandt was looking to redevelop a 54-acre portion of Cortlandt-owned waterfront property, just south of the Indian Point nuclear power plants, as part of a $400 million public/private partnership opportunity from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to support Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for generating 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035.
The developers had filed an application for an amendment to the Zoning Code by the Town Board since no provisions currently exist for a wind port.
Councilman James Creighton had expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity being presented to the town.
“This is something every town in the state would beg to have. We’re really lucky,” Creighton said during a work session in September. “I think this is huge for our community. This could be perfect.”
However, other board members had a more lukewarm response and were waiting to learn more details. Councilwoman Debbie Carter, who lives in Verplanck, was particularly concerned about how the large project could affect the small hamlet.
“We on the Town Board have all been struggling with the Port Cortlandt issue and wanted to hear from our citizens to ensure that we properly assessed this opportunity while ensuring that we heard the community about the issues, challenges and benefits it would bring,” Creighton stated. “While there has been spirited debate on all sides, the Port Cortlandt group ultimately heard the residents.”
“I and all the Town Board are looking forward to working together to engage the community productively through the LWRP process and to implement some of the strategies to restore public access to the river and bring needed economic development on an appropriate scale for our riverfront community,” Creighton said. “We all look forward to working together with the community and Supervisor Puglisi to ensure that development and recreational opportunities at that site will be something the community can proudly support.”