Major solar project planned

Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — The Massena Town Council’s plan to adopt a new local law governing solar power has been put on hold.

The board held a public hearing in December and planned to adopt the policy during this week’s meeting. But Town Supervisor Steven D. O’Shaughnessy said the board needed to delay it for a couple of months.

“We will not be taking any action on the solar law tonight,” he said. “We had received some comments from NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority). They suggested some changes in the law.”

The St. Lawrence County Planning Board also had suggested some changes, he said.

The town is serving as the lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review process that’s necessary before the law can take effect. Mr. O’Shaughnessy said the town will require an attorney to provide the necessary documentation to complete that task.

“We’re proceeding with the SEQR environmental review part,” he said.

Mr. O’Shaughnessy said the board should be able to approve the local law in March. It will govern large solar farms that want to set up in the town, as well as residential solar installations.

Under the draft, the local law “aims to promote the accommodation of solar energy systems and equipment and the provision for adequate sunlight and convenience of access necessary therefore, and to balance the potential impact on neighbors when solar collectors may be installed near their property while preserving the rights of property owners to install solar energy systems without excess regulation.”

The legislation applies to freestanding, ground- or pole-mounted and roof-mounted solar energy system installations.

For minor solar installation, the draft lists requirements for roof-mounted systems and freestanding solar collectors.

Major solar systems must be authorized by site plan review and special use permit from the Town Planning Board.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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