Public Comment Meeting On Possible Solar Farm Delayed

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Image Credit: Solar Power

Ranger Power thought that they had a complete application for their proposed White Tail Solar project, Monday night, at the York Township Planning Commission. But according to a majority of the Commissioners, they didn’t.

Chair Dick Cupka said that he was “eager” to move forward with setting a meeting for the public to review and give feedback on the project at the next meeting on March 8; but couldn’t support doing that “till we have all of our ducks in a row.”

“This is a big deal. I’m not willing to compromise,” on reasonable requests from planning commission members, Cupka also said.

Instead of scheduling a public hearing to possibly move the proposed 120 MGW utility scale power plant forward, the York Township Planning Commission decided to table the motion, citing incomplete information on things like satellite photography being used rather than a detailed site plan in the application. Commissioners also pointed to unclear pieces of information on what parcels will be used for the project and who owns what were; as well as a lack of information on things like the topography of the project.

Commissioner John Hargrove made a point of reminding the applicants that the information required by the township is mandatory. Hargrove disputed Ranger’s claim that they had tried to be as communicative as possible with York Township officials.

“At the last meeting, I thought we were a lot closer than we are,” Hargrove said.

One York Township requirement, for example, is that this project be hidden by rows of evergreen trees, to prevent it from being an eye sore. Drew Vielbig,a Development Manager at Ranger, said that they would soon be “visual simulations” soon on what the project would look like if completed, but it was not presented on Monday night.

There seemed to be a bit of miscommunication between the township and the New York based company, which is building the facility on behalf of DTE Energy. Ranger committed to communicating more closely with planning consultant Greg Elliot, to go over the proposal and provided the information that the planning commission is asking for.

Sergio Trevnio, the VP of Permitting at Ranger Power, promised that they would provide York Township with what they wanted “by the end of the day on Friday.”

This snag comes after several commissioners were taken up to another Ranger Power project in Shiawassee County, which is much further along. Ranger Power told the Sun Times News in an interview conducted after the Monday evening’s meeting that while this meeting was disappointing, they insisted that their application was in fact complete, but they would be happy to provide as much information as possible in whatever format York Township requires.

“It was clear tonight that the township wants to see that in a different format than the way we provided it. We would have loved to have heard that a little bit sooner and we’re already working to address the issues that were raised in the planner’s letter,” Trevnio said. “We’ve already reached out to them this evening to make sure that we clarify exactly what it is that they’re looking for so there is no more miscommunication. Our main priority is to make sure that we’re working in conjunction with them.”

Cupka said he would be open to setting up a special meeting to discus whether to accept Ranger’s application as complete, and then set up a further public comment meeting. Whether or not he does that will depend on how well the talks go between Ranger and the planning consultant.

Image Credit: Ranger Power. 

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