Seneca Falls ZBA approves permit for major solar project

A special use permit was approved Thursday for Cypress Creek Renewables of Santa Monica, Calif. to build and operate two large solar panel farms on Route 318 and Gravel Road.

The town Zoning Board of Appeals voted 3-2 to approve the special use permit needed to build and operate the solar farm in an agricultural zone.

Voting for the permit were ZBA members Dan Emmo, Matt Blair and Joseph Cordero. Voting no were chairwoman Marie Scoles and Susan Sauvageau.

Gravel Road residents John and Laura VanNiel and some six others spoke against the special use permit.

“Although the vote didn’t go the way I wanted, I felt our voices were heard by the ZBA,’’ John VanNiel said. The VanNiels, who live next to the Gravel Road solar site, are concerned about the size of the project, the miles of fencing, motorization of the panels and loss of farmland.

Speaking in favor was Thomas Dalton, whose mother, Mary Dalton, owns the Gravel Road property that Cypress Creek would lease for the solar farm.

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