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Alfred Town Talk: More Solar, More Marijuana


From Dan Acton, Town of Alfred Supervisor, 9/20/21

The evening began with a public hearing on a proposed modification to the town zoning law and a public hearing on the proposed solar installation at 5568 Jericho Hill. Whereas there was no discussion on the proposed changes to the zoning law, the floor and screen was opened to discussion of the solar project. Residents did not voice opposition to the project but rather had questions about the project and its impact. Those included questions about visual barriers both with tree leaves on and off, the impact on local taxes, noise during construction, life expectancy of solar panels, and maintenance of the project. The broader issue of taking farmland out of production and the long-term effect of importing agricultural products from outside New York State was also raised.

On the topic of marijuana, board member Wendy Dailey reported results of the survey on retail sales and on-site consumption of marijuana. A total of 71 responses showed 72% in favor of retail sales in the town, 28% opposed. On the topic of on-site consumption, the results were 56% in favor, 44% opposed. The board took no action on the topic at meeting.

Alfred Police Department Chief Paul Griffith attended to speak about the potential impact of the new state marijuana law. He indicated they already have seen an increase in DWI-marijuana this year, probably because it is now legal in New York State. He indicated it is hard to predict the impact on policing if marijuana is sold in the town, especially since the state has not promulgated new charging regulations. He said they rely on standard field sobriety tests for persons suspected of being under the influence, which can be followed up by a blood test.

Before going to executive session, the board recognized the retirement of long-term heavy equipment operator John Perkins, appointed Kristin Beck to the ZBA, and passed a local law modifying the town zoning law for solar projects and battery storage at those projects.

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