November 30, 2021

C’ville residents air solar concerns

Solar Panel Stock photo

Metro Creative stock image

Cortlandville resident Peter Morse-Ackley asked town board members Wednesday if they thought of the town’s comprehensive plan when looking at the two proposed five-megawatt solar projects on Riley Road among roughly half a dozen proposed solar projects for the town.

“Is the character of our town going to be rural and residential, as stated in our previous and proposed plan?” Morse-Ackley read from a statement. “Or are we going to be the solar panel capital of New York State?”

Concerns from Ackley and other town residents regarding proposed solar projects were brought up during the meeting, noting the effect to the town’s rural character and raising questions on proper zoning.

Morse-Ackley, who lives off McLean Road where a 12-acre solar project is proposed, about a half-mile from Lime Hollow Nature Center, previously said he is not against solar projects in the town.

At Wednesday’s meeting, he raised questions on how the proposed solar projects would fit in with the town’s rural character in respect to the comprehensive plan last updated in 1978 and a 2020 plan that remains a draft.

“Did we really plan for this?” Morse-Ackley read. “Do we really want to have solar panels everywhere?”

He proposed a moratorium on developing projects to focus on meeting the standards set by the 1978 comprehensive plan and to prepare to meet the needs and goals of a new comprehensive plan.

The board also received and filed letters from town residents near McLean Road in which the residents shared similar concerns.

“I am in favor of solar power, but there seems to be a large number of projects concentrated in this small geographic area,” resident David Park wrote. “This impacts a number of neighborhoods.”

Park, who lives on Deerfield Heights, continued in his letter that he was concerned with the nearby McLean Road project because the panels would be “extremely visible” from the road and that the land is zoned for residential and agriculture uses, not commercial.

“Put solar panels where they do not disturb the rural views and character of our town,” Park wrote. “There are a number of sites that would meet this criteria. The land across from Deerfield Heights is zoned residential/agricultural, let’s keep it that classification.”

Resident Roland Ryan also wrote, asking whether another location could be used rather than the McLean Road project.

Supervisor Tom Williams said the updated comprehensive plan draft still needs to be worked on but did not give specifics.

The letters from Park and Ryan were sent to the town planning board to review.