In August of last year, the Village of Poquott enacted a six-month moratorium on the installation of certain types of wind and solar energy devices. On Thursday, the Board of Trustees voted to extend the temporary ban for another six months.
The moratorium was initially intended for the board to review what other villages, towns and the county did, but after five months, the board is still waiting to hear guidelines from the Suffolk County Planning Commission.
“We really have to go by them,” Mayor Barbara Donovan said of the planning commission. “It’s very difficult to do a particular local law and then find out that they put in their own constraints because we really are subject to their laws. That means that we have to be very specific how our law is written so we can comply with theirs.”
The board can implement stricter laws on renewable energy devices, but can not be more lenient than them. The moratorium, which temporarily prohibits the use of wind turbines and freestanding solar panels that are not attached the roof of a home, basically gives everyone a chance to take some time before the commision makes any decisions.
“The commission advocates and supports renewable energy sources in Suffolk County,” said Tom Isles, director of the Suffolk County Planning Commission. “We have an energy committee that works with officials with other municipalities within the county with the idea of developing model registration that would unify the regulation of renewable energy structures and also unify the permiting process.”
The commission would not commit to a deadline for unified regulations, but according to Isles, it is on the agenda.
Donavan, however, said the village is “between a rock and a hard place.”
“The purpose for a moratorium, and it’s a good purpose, is so that everyone stops, takes a breath and just doesn’t do anything until we know where we are,” Donovan said. “The planning commission was supposed to come down with regulations that would allow all of us in Suffolk County to know where they were going with the panels and the windmills, but they haven’t done it.”
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