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Meeks Hill by Douglas Sciorra

Alfred Town Talk: Northland Power, Alfred Police Department, Budget

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From Alfred Town Supervisor Dan Acton:

Representing Northland Power, the company that proposes a 100 MW solar project on McAndrews Road, Anne Walling came before the town board requesting support for a 50-foot setback on a section of the project adjacent to Hess Road. The town solar law requires a 100-foot setback from property lines. She pointed out that here is no residential housing in the area. The absentee owners have not responded to written attempts to contact them. The board asked Northland Power for a copy of their correspondence so that a decision could be made at the next board meeting.

Ms. Walling noted that they are capping four abandoned gas wells within the project boundaries, some of which are still emitting gas. The timeline for project construction shows a start in late 2024 with completion of the project in 2025.

Alfred Police Chief Paul Griffith was in attendance and responded to the board’s request for any recommendations regarding local regulation of marijuana distribution. Residents will recall the town approved the sale of marijuana but prohibited on-site consumption of same. Chief Griffith recommended that we consider any marijuana retail distributor to be similar to a liquor store. It was noted that to our knowledge, there are no plans for a distributor to open in the town at this time.

On the topic of ATVs and UTVs on town roads, he reiterated that these are not permitted. Residents have reported these are common, and noisy, on certain roads such as East Valley, Pleasant Valley, and Hamilton Hill. He told us that by the time APD hears of these the vehicles are gone. However, he encouraged residents to call APD or 911 when this happens, and they or the State Police would respond.

The board adopted the 2023 budget which contains a 6.6% increase in the tax levy.  This reflects the effect of current inflation. This is the first time the town has exceeded the 2% tax cap since it was enacted, whereas most towns have regularly exceeded the cap. Also, the town of Alfred has one of the lowest tax rates in Allegany County.

Property owner Jason Rodd spoke about the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant process that took place several years ago. It was his feeling that the process was unfair and as a result he is moving his ceramic manufacturing to Alabama. He also asked the town not to go forward with the sidewalk project. It should be noted that the sidewalk project was funded by a Smart Growth Grant which was not part of the DRI.

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