National Grid is seeking a permit to build a utility substation at 4683 Wetzel Road in Clay to help handle power within the town.
The utility company approached the town board at its regular meeting Monday, Nov. 19, to request permission for the construction at a site located west and south of Henry Clay Boulevard, west of the railroad crossing. The substation would get its power from a 115KB transmission line that would run along the eastern portion of the site. If approved, the station would help carry the load from the Belmont, Euclid and Pine grove substations, tying into existing infrastructure west to the Seneca River and east to Cicero.
Joseph McMullen of TDS Inc., speaking on behalf of National Grid, said the substation was deemed necessary based on projected growth as well as concerns about outages in the area. The Wetzel Road site, McMullen said, has been identified as an ideal site within the northern suburbs.
“This site has a lot of advantages,” he said. “It’s centrally located in the area where National Grid has identified the need for a substation. The zoning is compatible. It’s well-screened with vegetation and trees.”
McMullen said that the Wetzel Road substation would be similar in design to the one on East Molloy Road in Mattydale.
“It would be more rectangular than the East Molloy Road site to make it fit on the parcel and to avoid any impact on the wetlands [at the back of the site],” McMullen said. “But it’s a fairly small substation, typical of what you would see for a distribution substation.”
The site on which National Grid is looking to build is actually two parcels, though they will become one parcel when the tax maps are redrawn. The total acreage is 14.71 acres. The area in which the actual building will take place is already disturbed, McMullen said, so no additional tree clearing will be necessary.
The Army Corps of Engineers and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation area already involved in the permit-granting process; because of that, National Grid requested a SEQRA-coordinated review in which the town declared itself the lead agency.
“The only environmental issue is the wetlands, which are all regulated by the Corps of Engineers,” McMullen said. “Some are also regulated by the DEC. We’ve had the DEC out to review the boundaries, and we’re all in agreement with the boundaries and where they are. The Corps also agrees. We’ve designed our site plan so that there will be little disturbance to the wetlands.”
McMullen said that National Grid would also include a deed restriction to ensure that the wetlands are never developed.
Representatives from National Grid said they anticipated that all permits should be received by June of 2013, allowing completion of the project by the summer of 2014.
“We think it’s a great project for the town of Clay,” McMullen said. “It’s going to provide reliable electric service now and in the future. It has a lot of benefits to it.”
The proposal was referred to the town planning board.
In other business:
The town board unanimously approved an ordinance prohibiting parking in front of the YMCA on Wetzel Road. Several residents had complained over the last year or so that the Y’s members had been parking on Wetzel when the parking lot was full, creating a traffic hazard.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.