Town of Potsdam approves six-month moratorium to plan for larger solar energy projects
By CRAIG FREILICH
POTSDAM – The Town Council Tuesday night approved a six-month moratorium of approvals on larger solar-electric projects for six months while they work to revise the zoning code.
“Today, the Board adopted a moratorium on the installation of any new solar energy systems to allow the Town to consider the need for any such changes and make any recommended changes before development proceeds,” wrote Supervisor Ann Carvill in a written statement after the meeting.The moratorium applies to projects intended primarily for off-site use of the energy, and not the typical residential or office installations on a roof or in a small array on the ground for use there.
To provide Potsdam with some guidance, Town Clerk Cindy Goliber said she is commencing a round of conversations with other municipalities in the state to see what they have been doing in their zoning and building codes on the issue.
“Over the last half of 2018, the Board reached a consensus view of the Board’s need to evaluate the actual and potential impacts on the Town associated with installation and maintenance of solar energy systems, and if necessary, to potentially revise the Town’s Zoning Law to address any such issues,” Carvill said.
Many municipalities are fielding requests to place solar arrays in their jurisdictions as the alternative energy source gains popularity and costs of new installations have come down. They are all trying to catch up with putting rules in place to protect the town and people who live near arrays.
A committee has been appointed to research the issue and come up with a plan that will be reported back to the town board no later than April 19.
The committee members are Supervisor Carvill and Town Councilor Rose Rivezzi, co-chairs, Town Attorney Frank Cappello, Code Enforcement Officer Mike Boysuk, Assessor James McGuire, and perhaps one other person.