Solar site stays offline until drainage is fixed, Kingston town supervisor says

Daily Freeman-24-Nov 2018

The update was provided during a telephone interview Monday, with Landi saying the company has made efforts to change the flow of stormwater.

“They’ve been ... shifting their ponds,” he said. “They have to widen and make bigger piping that’s got to go in.”

Landi said the town has requested that Cypress Creek submit a new stormwater drainage plan for Town Board approval.

“We were hoping it was going to be a quick fix but ... at this point, they’re not going to get the go-ahead to go online or do anything until the residents are taken care of and is fixed,” he said.

Landi added that the problems are related to water coming from higher elevations that is now directed toward residential properties in greater volume than before the solar array was installed.

“What (neighbors) had was water in their yards (and) driveways, because none of the driveways are paved,” he said. “Cypress Creek did fix that, but the seepage problem is still there. One of the residents did retain some water in his basement.”

Landi said town officials have also asked the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Ulster County Highway Department to review the drainage issue.

“The county’s involved .. .because when (Cypress Creek) directed it north, water started coming over the county roads, Hallihan Hill, and also Sawkill Road,” he said.

Cypress Creek Renewables and Bluestone Solar last year applied to construct a two-megawatt system on 13 acres of a 49-acre property off of Hallihan Hill Road in the town of Kingston. Neighbors of the project have complained the site plan did not properly address stormwater drainage problems that they attribute to changes in runoff flows due to the clearing of trees.

Representatives for the project disagreed with accounts from Kingston town residents over the number of times runoff has been a problem. Cypress Creek consultant Michael Fishman on Monday said there has only been one incident, while two of the neighbors contend their properties have been flooded at least three times to varying degrees.

“Having had that difficulty once, we’re certainly going to be monitoring this very closely and making sure that it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Neighbor Beth Atwood, who does credit Cypress Creek with being cooperative, contends there have been several instances where efforts to correction drainage has helped one property while making problems worse for others. She said the company has repaired her driveway, but has yet to control nature.

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