Pine Plains defends itself: Suits on solar and taxes

PINE PLAINS — An executive session with town attorney Warren Replansky, held during the first regular Town Board meeting Thursday, Jan. 18, dealt primarily with the Carson Power project.

Replansky began the session by asking the board to appoint him as attorney to defend the Planning Board in the suit attempting to scuttle the project, a Tier III solar array planned for Pulvers Corners.

The group bringing the suit, Preserve Pine Plains, consists of four residents of the Pulvers Corners hamlet. They are suing the town under Article 78, which calls on the state Supreme Court to overturn the Planning Board’s decision to grant a special use permit to Carson Power for the planned array. The suit claims that the permit does not adhere to the zoning code nor the town’s comprehensive plan, and challenges the board’s decision that the environmental impact of the project was so minimal that a full environmental review was not necessary.

The board voted to officially name Replansky council for the defense in the case.

So far, five judges have recused themselves, and the case is now in Putnam County.

Replansky then said that he’d like to have approval from the town to enter into a pilot agreement with Carson Power’s engineering firm, Bergmann Associates, of Albany, ahead of the next town board meeting on Feb. 15. To hash out the details of the agreement, Replansky is arranging a workshop meeting with the Bergmann Associates and probably one or two members of the Planning or Zoning Board and/or the Town Board.

Replansky also discussed an ongoing tax suit against the Town, its assessor and its assessment board, brought by Sunny River LLC, which, after four years of negotiation with no settlement, may go to trial. Replansky asked that he be allowed to retain attorney William Maker, who specializes in this area, at a fee of $250 per hour. The board approved the request.

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