Solar farm law in works

Town of Massena officials continue to work on a local law that would govern large solar farms that wanted to set up in the community. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Town of Massena officials continue to work on drafting a local law that would govern large solar farms that want to set up in the town.

Town attorney Eric Gustafson provided Massena Town Council members with the latest draft for their review, comments, questions and concerns.

“What I recommend is to take a few minutes and read it through,” he said. “We should also send it off to the planning board and probably the zoning board of appeals, too.”

Those board members could also submit any questions or concerns they had regarding the local law.

Mr. Gustafson said he would ensure there were no conflicts between the information in the document and the Massena Electric Department’s tariffs.

“We’ll certainly make that comparison to make sure there’s no conflict. I don’t imagine there’s going to be any conflict at all,” he said.

Once he receives comments from the boards, Mr. Gustafson said he would provide council members with another draft. He said the document would also require a more extensive State Environmental Quality Review process and then they could set up a public hearing to take comments before adopting it.

Because of the potential size of solar farms, which he said could be more intrusive, especially to neighbors, they would need to address that in the local law.

“You’re talking about the bigger facilities. Obviously there’s more regulations that you want to consider,” Mr. Gustafson said.

Earlier this year, the town council held a public hearing to extend a moratorium on solar energy development until they could get a new policy in place. They had been working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to develop the solar law.

No developers have submitted paperwork to establish a solar farm in the town.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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