Schuyler town board votes to change solar ordinance

The Schuyler town board voted unanimously to approve an amendment to a zoning law to permit a solar farm to be placed in an area that is zoned as a commercial telecommunications district.

Posted: Oct 21, 2020 10:50 PM

SCHUYLER, N.Y. - The Schuyler town board voted unanimously to approve an amendment to a zoning law to permit a solar farm to be placed in an area that is zoned as a commercial telecommunications district.

The change is to the 2017 Town Solar Ordinance to authorize siting solar farms and solar power plants on [properties in the town that are zoned as a commercial telecommunications (CT) district.

The town held a public hearing to get input from residents and property owners.

Many people voiced their concerns during the public hearing about this solar ordinance change because it now could allow a proposed solar project to happen in the future.

"It's the first part of a very large puzzle," Michael Lavelle, a property owner in the proposed project area. "If this was not allowed, the solar project would end."

SunEast Development, LLC is proposing to install a 20-megawatt solar project on a 172.3-acre site in the towns of Schuyler and Herkimer.

"It's not that we're against solar power, its that we're against solar plants in residential areas," Lavelle said.

Other property owners, like Paul Sokol, supports the ordinance change.

"I see no problem using the property," Sokol said. “This way you’re not limiting the zoning for one specific item."

The town supervisor made it clear that even though the board voted to amend the town’s solar ordinance to allow solar farms and solar power plants to be located and developed in commercial-telecommunications zones, doesn't mean the proposed project will happen.

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