National Grid Substation Proposal

National Grid Substation Proposal on Van Dyke Road - Update

BACKGROUND

In 2014, National Grid proposed construction of an electrical substation on its property at 109 Van Dyke Road near the intersection with the Delmar Bypass Extension.  The substation would take electricity from the existing 115-kilovolt powerlines and lower it to 13.2-kilovolts for distribution through the area.

Because the town zoning for that area does not permit a substation, National Grid has applied for a variance from the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).  The ZBA decides on variances to the town’s zoning law based on well-defined standards.  By state law, the standards for public utilities like National Grid are different from those for other projects because they are presumed to be operating in the public interest.  For this substation, National Grid must demonstrate to the ZBA that:

  • the variance is needed for the utility to provide safe and adequate service to the public; and
  • there are no other feasible sites for the substation.

The ZBA opened a public hearing on the proposed substation on November 5, 2014 and continued it at their March 4, 2015 meeting.  Based on public input and the complexity of the issue, the ZBA voted at the March 4, 2015 meeting to keep the public hearing open and to hire a consultant to:

  • provide a technical analysis of the need for the substation;
  • review National Grid’s assessment of potential alternative locations; and
  • review environmental studies provided by National Grid of the Van Dyke Road location. 

In January of 2018, the consultant (Power Engineers) completed their initial assessment of the proposal.

PROCESS

The ZBA is continuing their review of the proposed project, the project is slated to be on the the July 15, 2020 agenda for a Public Hearing continuation. The review process will continue the public hearing, which is important because it allows the ZBA to receive insights from residents in addition to information from National Grid and the ZBA consultant (Power Engineers). As noted above, the ZBA must consider the project in the context of (a) the need by the utility to provide safe and adequate service, and (b) feasible alternative sites for the substation.

The public may actively participate to provide comments during the public hearing by registering to attend the meeting via Zoom. A link to the registration will be provided the Wednesday prior to the meeting.

When you click the registration link it will bring you to a registration form. Complete the registration form in its entirety and hit Register. A registration confirmation that includes the link to the Zoom meeting, will be sent to the email you provided. On the day of the meeting, 15-30 minutes prior to the start time of the meeting, click on the link and you will join the meeting. Further instructions on meeting registration can be found in this Guide.

As always, members of the public may view and listen to the meeting live by visiting the Town’s meeting portal.

Additionally, if you are unable to participate at the meeting via Zoom, the public may submit comments to the Board in advance of the meeting. Public comments must be submitted via email to ZoningBoardOfAppeals@townofbethlehem.org by 3 PM the day of the meeting in order for the comment to be read aloud by a Board Member during the public hearing and recorded into the minutes. The Board will close the public hearing and accept additional comments via email up until 48 hours after the meeting to ensure the Board receives and reviews all public comments so submitted.

We encourage you to sign up for meeting notifications through our “Notify Me” button.

MORE INFORMATION

Town code creating the Zoning Board of Appeals

Video of the November 5, 2014 ZBA meeting

Video of the March 4, 2015 ZBA meeting

Project proposal materials

July 2014 Noise Assessment Report

September 9, 2014 - National Grid Application to ZBA for Use & Area Variance(s)

February 20, 2015 - Response from GRID to ZBA for 11-05-2014 meeting

November 9, 2015 – Response from GRID to ZBA for 03-04-2015 meeting

January 9, 2018 - Power Engineering Report

April 18, 2019 - Response from Grid to POWER Engineering to 1-09-2018 Report

March 2, 2020 - Letter from Leja to ZBA-compilation of post application submittals to ZBA

May 20, 2020 - Presentation by Grid re-introducing Project

June 3, 2020 - POWER Engineering Presentation

June 12, 2020 - Response letter from GRID to ZBA for 6-5-2020 meeting

June 17, 2020 - ZBA Pubic Hearing Continued