Home » Lift near Hotchkiss golf course shows height of planned tower

Lift near Hotchkiss golf course shows height of planned tower

LAKEVILLE — Golfers approaching the third hole at the Hotchkiss golf course Monday morning were greeted by the sight of Charlie Geyer and John Worrall raising a bucket lift to 58 feet in the air.

Well, 53 feet, actually, because the apparatus was on a five-foot grade.

The lift was being raised to demonstrate to townspeople how high the chimney for the school’s proposed biomass energy plant will be. It was also helpful for making the approximate location of the building clear to the non-golfer, or anyone who doesn’t know where the third hole is located.

The proposed new plant will replace the existing plant. The proposal is currently before the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission (part two of the public hearing on the plant will be held Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall).

The facility will burn wood chips and heat the campus at a considerable savings, according to Geyer, the project and energy manager at the school. It will be half as expensive as the current oil-burning system.

“It would be like buying heating oil at $1 per gallon,” Geyer said.

The plant will also produce about 30 percent fewer emissions than the one now in use on the campus.

At the first part of the public hearing, before the Planning and Zoning Commission Oct. 5, the commissioners asked the school to provide a demonstration of how high the chimney will be.

Geyer noted as he and Worrall raised the bucket that 24 feet of the 58-foot total will be obscured by the building. From Route 41 a pedestrian will be able to see about 34 feet of chimney. And that pedestrian will have to look closely to see if the plant is operating, Geyer added. The  process that cleans particles out of the wood smoke — a technology called electrostatic precipitation — works so well that it’s difficult to see much of anything coming out.

The technology of the plant is so new it’s old, Geyer said. “It’s basically a big wood stove and a screw. You could put Ben Franklin and Archimedes in there and they could run it.”

The big question is what happens if someone hits a golf ball on the roof of the new building, which will be covered with vegetation.

“Out of bounds,” said Geyer firmly.

The lift will be up for a week. The public hearing resumes Wednesday, Nov. 3, 6 p.m. at Town Hall.

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