On Thursday, July 19, members of the Malta Town Board sat down with representatives from Luther Forest Technology Campus, National Grid and NYSEG to discuss the recent proposal to bury 1.1 miles of a previously proposed above-ground transmission line that will bring electricity into the site. Although town officials expressed their support for the new plan, they said a number of items will still need to be worked out between all parties before the project moves further.
The board made no decisions, but did agree to meet for another workshop session with the applicant and other parties. Town board members ultimately said they had eight areas which needed clarification.
John Munsey, an engineer for C.T. Male who is serving as the project manager for the LFTC project, assured the board that there has been no change to the buffers established in the planned development district (PDD) legislation. The board, however, asked to review those and to have a map made available which specifically identified which segments of the transmission line were going underground, which would remain above ground, and identify where the transition sub-station will be located. The board also wants to view renderings to get a feel for the exact appearance of the sub-station.
The transition sub-station was not included in previous presentations as it was not necessary with all the transmission lines running above ground. The change to the plans will require the transition sub-station, which LFTC representatives told the planning board, at its June 19 meeting, would be approximately 95-by-95 feet square and about 15 feet high.
Additionally, the board asked LFTC to address the construction impacts of the underground transmission system and insure that there is enough room for the repair of those lines once Park Place is fully developed. Saratoga Economic Development Corporation has entered into easements with the developer of Park Place to allow the transmission lines to run beneath their project. Although that project was approved several years ago, it is just now at the point of construction. The maps presented at last week’s meetings indicate that the underground transmission lines will be built primarily underneath an alleyway that serves as the primary driveway access for some of the properties in the Park Place development. The board was concerned that residents would be adversely impacted if and when repairs are needed.
Board members also asked LFTC to provide a more detailed map so that they were able to take in the project in totality and review it in relation to neighboring properties.
Perhaps the item of greatest concern to both LFTC and the Malta Town Board is how this new proposal changes the $1.5 million LFTC is mandated to pay the Town of Malta, per language in the PDD, as a means of mitigating the transmission lines which were to have run above ground for more than 3 miles and would have been extremely visible from the Route 9 corridor and other areas.
We are asking you to modify that figure, said Michael Relyea, the newly appointed executive director for LFTC. The board declined to discuss the mitigation fee until it had the additional information available to them.
`Questions have been asked,` said Town Supervisor Paul Sausville. `I think it would be more productive to have a written document to respond to.`
The board agreed to schedule a second public workshop on the matter for a date two weeks following the date LFTC provides the information.
`We are at a point now where our schedule is really getting condensed,` said Relyea. `Changes aren’t foreseeable. We need to have shovels in the ground as soon as possible.`
He said he is currently pulling together a timeline for the next 18 to 24 months as to how the project will progress to share with the towns of Malta and Stillwater.
Relyea said he and others continue to be in regular contact with Advanced Micro Devices working out the details for that company to come to Saratoga County.
While the company has not officially signed on to the LFTC, Reylea said they are continuing to move ahead with the engineering aspects for the proposed plant.
SEDC, said Relyea, is continuing to recruit other prospects for the campus. SEDC representatives are traveling the country and meeting with other companies that might be interested in the Malta location. “