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Middleburgh Considers its own Moratorium

Written By Michael on 6/23/15 | 6/23/15

MIDDLEBURGH - Residents in the Town of Middleburgh urged town board members to implement a moratorium on quarry expansion and solar farms Thursday evening, but the municipality took no action.

Calling on councilpersons to consider a moratorium to allow for the completion of the township's comprehensive plan, Joan Gallagher cited the protection of the valley community's rural character in addressing the board.

Gallagher's comments came on the heels of news breaking that Carver Stone is seeking the expansion of their quarry operations in Middleburgh, while Borrego Solar is attempting to build solar arrays despite it currently being a prohibited activity in the town's zoning regulations.

Mirroring her compatriot's comments in favor of a moratorium, Marjorie Troidle pointed out "there was a negative environmental impact" on Carver Stone and further commented that a lot of residents in the town were unaware of where the project is in the process.

Although expressing sympathy with the residents call, Town Supervisor Jim Buzon cautioned that Carver Stone's "draft environmental impact study has not been completed" and that a period for public comment still has to be held, both of which could take several months.

Furthermore, commenting that a moratorium had been discussed at a joint meeting of the town and village earlier in the week, Buzon indicated that opinions were mixed on the idea and that, "we should wait on the comprehensive plan before we make any rash decisions."

Expected to be completed by October, the new comprehensive plan is likely to lead to the rewrite of the town's zoning regulations.

As for Borrego Solar, the company's requests have been rejected by both the Planning Board and the Code Enforcement Officer, with solar representatives recently appearing before the Planning Board again to argue that according to case law they are an approved activity as a public utility.

Buzon disagreed, saying that only a public entity could qualify as a public utility; not a private company that would make profits from the transfer of electricity.

In other business, the town board:

• Heard from Town Highway Superintendent Dale Nunamann that the highway crew has laid stone and oil on School House Road, Oak Meadows Drive, and other town roadways. Nunamann further reported that prices have gone through the roof for stone, although the budget should be okay overall.

• Voted to appoint Janet Mayer to manage the administration and Charley Spickerman to manage the financial aspects of local projects funded by New York Rising.
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