New Public Hearing Scheduled

At Wednesday's work session, Town Supervisor Jacqueline Annabi announced that she would be adding a third public hearing to the agenda for the June 19th Town Board meeting.

This new hearing will focus on the board's desire to impose a 12-month moratorium on applications for lithium battery storage facilities to be situated in Putnam Valley. Their resolution comes on the heels of the controversy surrounding the proposal for a battery storage facility on a site bordering Mahopac and Somers. (Battery storage sites allow excess energy to be stored until it's needed, reducing the strain on the local power grid and helping the state meet its green energy goals.) Residents who oppose the Carmel site claim it is too close to residential areas and note that fires have broken out at several storage facilities, raising health and environmental concerns.

As previously reported, one of the other public hearings at the June 19th meeting would put limitations on where commercial solar installations would be permitted in Putnam Valley. In the debate between those who would like to see the town put forth policies to aggressively combat climate change and those who worry that the result will lead to intrusive installations, these two resolutions suggest the town board is leaning towards the latter point of view.

However, at the same work session, the Town Board also entertained a proposal from the Commission for the Conservation of the Environment, a town-appointed body, to conduct an open space inventory. Town board members seemed interested in the proposal, which was also supported at the meeting by a representative from the Hudson Highlands Land Trust. If such an inventory were initiated, it would provide the public with an opportunity for extensive engagement over how Putnam Valley land should be developed in the future.

In an email exchange last week, Supervisor Annabi also said that she and her staff are "working on a grant to create a comprehensive plan that will allow smart growth and clean energy principles for the community."

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