October 23, 2021

C’ville to study solar law

Town board votes to draft options on possible moratorium

Cars on McLean Road

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Cars drive west on McLean Road in Cortlandville on Wednesday next to the site of a proposed solar project. The land is about half of a mile east of Lime Hollow Nature Center.

The Cortlandville Town Board voted Wednesday to have Town Attorney John DelVecchio draft options to potentially create a moratorium on solar projects in the town or amend town code for such projects.

The vote followed a discussion between board members and Christopher Newell, the chairman of the town Planning Board, about the possibility of implementing a moratorium on solar projects.

“I don’t think any of us had any idea we would see this many solar projects,” Newell said in regard to the roughly 10 to 12 solar projects that have been accepted or are in the process of being accepted.

Newell said that a three-month moratorium would give the town time to have outside professional help, like lawyers, review the town’s code on solar projects and see if changes are necessary.

Board member Douglas Withey questioned whether three months would be enough time to fully review the town’s codes.

Newell responded that he didn’t want to stretch out a possible moratorium too long, as developers have spent a lot of time and money for their projects.

Town Supervisor Tom Williams said the process of getting a moratorium in place, including holding a public hearing on it and filing the law with the state before its adoption, could take up to two months.

Newell later asked if it would make sense for the Planning Board to meet and come up with potential amendments to the town’s code in place of a moratorium.

“You give us amendments to our solar law that we have now and we will look at them at the next meeting thereafter,” Williams responded. “If we agree with them, they could be in place fairly quickly.”

Withey said that he favored having both a moratorium to pause solar projects and a review of the town’s code to get everything squared away.

With no definitive response by all members of the board, DelVecchio said he would draft different options, including potential amendments to the local law, at the next meeting Town Board meeting on Oct. 7 for the board to review and potentially adopt.

Newell also said that the Planning Board will meet to further discuss solutions to the issue.