POTSDAM — The town is now ready for large-scale solar array projects.
Town Board members Tuesday night passed Local Law No. 2 Regulation of Solar Photovoltaic Systems, which, among other things, was added as its own section to the town code with the purpose to “encourage and promote the safe, effective and efficient use of installed solar photovoltaic systems that reduce on-site consumption of utility-supplied energy while protecting the health, safety and welfare of adjacent and surrounding land uses and properties.”
The creation of the newly passed law goes back to the Jan. 8 Town Board appointment of a committee to draft it.
On July 12 the St. Lawrence County Planning Board approved the local law with specific modifications, which the Town Board made. After a State Environmental Quality Review, it was determined that the proposed law would not have any negative environmental impacts.
Town Councilwoman Toni A. Kennedy had previously asked about putting decommissioning funds in a surety bond or an escrow account in order to protect property owners against unscrupulous developers .
But Kevin C. Murphy, an attorney with the Wladis Law Firm in Syracuse, who acted as a consultant on the drafting of the proposed law, told the board the town didn’t have that authority.
“And he showed us how it was written in a New York State publication that we don’t have the authority to, so that all got resolved,” Town Supervisor Ann M. Carvill said.
In January, the Board voted to approve a solar moratorium to allow it time to research the impact large solar arrays would have on the town and its residents, and possibly to enact further zoning laws. This came in response to requests from companies with interest in setting up solar arrays.
Additionally, the town approved a final draft of the four-page application for solar energy requiring a special use permit.
“Now we have the rules, so now they know the rules in Potsdam,” Ms. Carvill said. “These large-scale solar array projects are probably going to start in.”