October 18, 2021

Cincy OKs solar plan moratorium

Solar Panel Stock photo

Metro Creative stock image

The Cincinnatus Town Board approved Thursday a six-month moratorium on the construction of commercial solar projects, giving the board time to formulate a law to regulate them.

The vote was 4-0, with board member Jonathan McKee absent.

One project is already in the works, although it has not been formally proposed — a solar farm of up to 20 megawatts on the site of the Knickerbocker Country Club property at 5771 Telephone Road. A representative of Norbut Solar Farm, the Rochester-based company behind the project, displayed preliminary sketches of the potential project at the board’s Feb. 13 meeting.

That representative, Dan Huntington, also said Feb. 13 that his company would seek a payment in lieu of taxes agreement for the project. The project is small enough that it would not be regulated through New York’s Article 10 process, which applies to commercial projects larger than 25 megawatts.

The town board now has six months to decide how to deal with this and any future solar projects. The board will start discussing a solar law at a workshop at 6:30 p.m. next Thursday.

The board had initially created a draft law in January, but board members decided they needed more time to craft a law, Town Supervisor Luann King said.

The draft solar law calls for a permit fee for commercial solar projects of 10 cents per square foot of solar panel. But the board will now compare its original draft with laws adopted by Solon and Cortlandville, King said.

The board tentatively scheduled a public hearing for a solar law for 6:30 p.m. May 7.

An informal solar committee also started meeting Sunday, including two residents, Beth MacRae and Steven Konka, as well as King and Deputy Supervisor Mike Stafford. The group has not scheduled its next meeting.

MacRae said the committee hopes to help residents “gain information together so we wouldn’t just be polarized.”

“I think it’s really important that we get as much information as we can,” she said.