October 20, 2021

C’ville extends solar ban another 6 months to April

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

A state Supreme Court justice ruled in favor of the Cortlandville Zoning Board of Appeals, which denied a variance for a 24-acre, 5-megawatt project near this site off Locust Avenue

Solar developers looking to create new projects in Cortlandville won’t be able to until the spring; the Cortland Town Board has extended a solar moratorium for another six months.

The moratorium, enacted in April as a local law, put a six-month ban on solar projects that had not been approved by the town planning board, zoning board of appeals and had not received a building permit, according to the law.

The ban was put in place as the town’s solar committee worked to review and amend its 2018 solar law to account for the large growth in the number of projects coming to the town.

With the ban set to expire in October, Town Attorney John DelVecchio recommended the board adopt another six-month extension as the solar committee continues to work on proposed changes.

The committee “has done some good work,” DelVecchio said. “We’ve made some headway. I think the work we’re doing will ultimately end up improving the solar ordinance.”

DelVecchio did not say specifically what work was being done.

Once the committee finishes its work, recommendations for amendments will be brought before the board, he said.

“So, the reason for another six months is that it gives us time to finalize the proposed language amending the law, but then after that’s done and it comes back before you, we still have additional steps, i.e., another public hearing to go through, before that can be finalized,” DelVecchio added.

The board voted, 5-0, to extend the moratorium, which would become effective during the first week of October and last until April 2022, unless the town board voted to end it sooner, DelVecchio said.

Proposed projects in the town include a 90-megawatt project split over Cortlandville, Homer and Solon by EDF Renewables and a 5-megawatt, 36-acre project off Riley Road.

Additionally, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor last week of the Cortlandville Zoning Board of Appeals on a proposed 24-acre, 5-megawatt project off Locust Avenue. The board denied a land use variance to developer Source Renewables earlier this year, leading to the lawsuit.

A letter on the court’s ruling was filed by the board Wednesday.