County planners support solar energy project at farm in Lyndonville

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 February 2021 at 9:39 am

Planning Board also supports 6-month moratorium in Gaines on battery storage systems

LYNDONVILLE – The Orleans County Planning Board has recommended the Village of Lyndonville approve the site plan for a 340-kilowatt solar energy system for Panek Farms at Lynwood Drive.

The project would be ground-mounted in an Agricultural-Residential District in the northeast corner of the village. The panels would be installed along the right-of-way for the former Hojack railroad line on land that isn’t good farmland, Jim Panek, one of the farm owners, told the Planning Board on Thursday.

The land currently isn’t being farmed. The spot is out of sight for most residents and will include a fence, Panek said.

The system would include 960 ground-mounted solar modules.

This is the second solar project on Panek land. The farm also has one on Eagle Harbor Road in Albion at a former harness racing training track. That land also wasn’t good for growing crops.

The two projects will generate enough electricity for the farm’s use, Panek said.

In other referrals, the Planning Board:

• Recommended the Town of Barre approve the site plan and a special use permit for Joshua Watkins to operate a diesel/gas powered vehicle repair shop at 4227 Oak Orchard Rd., about 2,000 feet south of the Route 31A and Route 98 intersection.

Watkins plans to work on over-the-road semi-trucks, farm equipment and other large vehicles. A garage is already built for most of the repairs to be done. Some repairs may be done outside in a fenced-in area if the trailers are too big for the garage.

The site will have employee parking and a customer waiting area. It will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The site is in Barre’s General Business District.

• Backed the Town of Gaines which wants a six-month moratorium on all battery and energy storage systems for six months.

The moratorium will give the town time to research the new uses of battery and energy storage systems and their potential impacts upon the community.

The town is encouraged to explore the impact of battery and energy storage systems near occupied neighboring structures, the proper emergency response protocols for the systems’ malfunctions such as fires, and the proper disposal of systems at the end of their life cycles.