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Sheep and honeybees to tend Lockport solar power project

Sheep will graze amid a field of solar panels on a Lockport farm next year, and honeybees also will find a new home there.

Although opponents said "Baaa," the town Planning Board stung them Tuesday night with a 5-2 vote approving a special use permit for a 46-acre solar power project on the Kowalski family's farm on Slayton Settlement Road.

The $11 million, 7-megawatt project had been tangled in red tape and neighborhood opposition for months, but now it looks like construction will start as soon as the spring.

The board specified that Renewable Properties, the San Francisco company developing the project, cannot obtain a building permit until it makes a deal for a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, arrangement with the town.

"I'm pleased with the outcome and looking forward to the project," farmer Karl Kowalski said. "It's going to mean income that we'll need to carry on or somewhat retire. That's why we did this."

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