With the weather forecast for Saturday looking good, Malta town officials said a balloon test to help the public assess the visual impact of GlobalFoundries’ proposed second computer chip plant will go forward as scheduled.
The town has also received an animated simulation of the plant’s appearance from Saratoga Lake and areas around it, and will be posting the video on the town website.
The animation allows people to see how visible the plant will be to the naked eye, and also through 8X binoculars. Using binoculars, the top of the plant is visible from the north end of Saratoga Lake, though a ridge line blocks it from the southern part of the lake, according to the simulation.
The animation also shows the plant to be visible using binoculars from Snake Hill in Stillwater, about 2.3 miles away.
Town officials are studying the plant’s visual impact as part of their environmental review because the proposed Fab 8.2 would have vent stacks 15 feet higher than those on Fab 8.1, which generally isn’t visible from the lake.
The public can view the simulation prepared for GlobalFoundries by Saratoga Associates at www.malta-town.org, or can observe for itself during Saturday’s balloon test.
Red balloons will be flown from 8 a.m. to noon at 125 feet, to mark the four corners and roof height of Fab 8.2. A larger blue spotter balloon will be tethered at 175 feet to help people know where to look.
GlobalFoundries believes the balloons will be low to the horizon. “It should be difficult to see,” said Steve Groseclose, the company’s director of risk management, sustainability and real estate.
Viewing locations suggested by the town include:
u The intersection of Wafer Way and Cold Springs Road in Stillwater.
u Route 9P and Snake Hill Road in Stillwater.
u The Saratoga Lake Motel on Route 9P.
u Manning Cove Road on the west side of the lake in Malta.
u Riley Cove along Riley Cove Road in Malta.
Binoculars and cameras may be useful for spectators.
The town Planning Department will conduct a guided tour starting at 9 a.m. at Town Hall. The tour is expected to take about 90 minutes, with a five-minute stop at each observation location.
People who observe the test will be asked to contact the town and say whether they think the impact will be serious, average or slight. Comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.