Court date set for Pine Plains

Route 199 in Pine Plains near the proposed access for Carson Power LLC’s planned 10 megawatt solar project, which faces opposition from some neighbors.

John Coston

Court date set for Pine Plains

PINE PLAINS — The New York State Supreme Court judge in charge of the lawsuit brought by residents opposed to the Tier 3 solar project at Pulvers Corners has scheduled oral arguments for May 3.

On Friday, March 29, Judge Anthony R. Molé of Putnam Supreme Court called for the oral arguments to be held in Putnam County Supreme Court in Carmel at 10:30 a.m. in Courtroom 306.

A March 19 court hearing had been canceled by Judge Molé, who recently was assigned to the case after a string of other justices recused themselves from handling it for various reasons. Justice Gina Capone, who previously had been assigned the case, had scheduled the March 19 oral arguments.

The resident group, known as Preserve Pine Plains, is seeking an injunction against the solar farm project, proposed by Carson Power LLC of New York City. The group filed an Article 78 action against the Pine Plains Planning Board and developers of the project, which envisions a 10MW complex consisting of 24,000 solar panels on farmland at 454 Bean River Road.

Article 78 proceedings put the action of an official or agency under review by a court.

“Counsel must be adequately prepared to argue the procedural and substantive issues concerning the claims and contentions raised in the pleadings and the parties briefs,” Judge Molé wrote in a court notice to the parties.

“Each party shall be allotted ten minutes for their main arguments and prior to beginning argument, may reserve up to three minutes for rebuttal,” he wrote.

The judge previously had signaled to the parties that a review of the submitted papers in the case would precede a decision whether to hold oral arguments.

Since the petition was filed by Preserve Pine Plains Dec. 27, 2023, more than 120 documents have been submitted by sets of attorneys representing both sides of the case.

Mindy Zoghlin of the Zoghlin Group LLC in Rochester represents Preserve Pine Plains. The town is represented by Warren S. Replansky.

Developers named in the case are Pulvers Corner Solar 1 LLC, Pulvers Corners Solar 2 LLC, Nexamp Inc., SolaREIT 1-A LLC and Carson Power.

The residents’ group claims the Town Board failed to take a “hard look” at “significant adverse impacts” with respect to community character and town planning documents. It also claims the Planning Board failed to take a “hard look” at the project’s impacts on plants and animals and on aesthetic resources and “ignored identified areas of environmental concerns.”

In extensive rebuttal, town officials and the developers disagree with and challenge the plaintiffs’ claims.

In its application with the Town of Pine Plains, Carson power said it intends to honor the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “Tree Clearing Window” to accommodate actions to eliminate risk of impacts to Endangered Bat Species in New York State. “In consideration of this window, tree removal will only happen in the window of November 1st to March 31st,” Carson agreed.

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