CATSKILL – The Town of Catskill Planning Board will draft updated regulations for solar power and first-time regulations for wind power to help prepare the town for the future.
Planning Board Chairman Joseph Izzo told town board members at their January meeting that the town’s existing regulations for solar were “very cursory,” and that wind power was not addressed at all.
Izzo said on Monday that at the planning board’s January 2 meeting, the applicants for a possible major subdivision indicated that solar power was under consideration as an auxiliary power supply for the homes they want to build.
Izzo said that comment got the board thinking about the status of the existing regulations, and the need to update them, which in turn, he said, got them also thinking about the lack of any wind power regulations.
“We want to look at other zoning laws that speak to solar power,” said Izzo. “The Town of Coxsackie has one, and General Code – the publisher of our code – also has one.”
Izzo said both are of the type the town is seeking because they keep everything in “simple terms,” but cover what is necessary.
“We want to make sure we have something in our zoning law,” he said, “because that’s starting to become more and more something that people do.”
Izzo said the goal to develop wind power regulations is equally important.
“We also want to take a look at wind power regulations (from elsewhere),” he said.
“We’re just trying to be prepared,” he said, “because at some time, we know, that will come up.”
Izzo said that after developing draft regulations for both subjects, the planning board will present them to the town board for consideration.
“Only the town board has authority to change a law,” he said. “The planning board can only develop the drafts, and provide them to the town board. It’ll be their decision.”
Izzo also said the town board was appreciative of the goal.
“They were very receptive,” he said. “They said go ahead.”
“So I don’t foresee any issues,” he added. “We just want to make sure that we’re up to date.”
Izzo did note, however, that the difference in infrastructure between the two types of power sources may require extra details.
“It’s because wind power is a little different because of the towers,” he said – a reference to the fact that a structure’s height can often lead to visibility reviews under a local law or the state environmental quality review law.
“Also, they’re both considered utilities,” he said, “so sometimes they may get federal [regulations] involved because they hook into the power company.”
Izzo said the goal is to have the drafts finished by about March.
“Hopefully, we’ll have it done in a month or so,” he said. “The solar will be easier, but the wind regulations may take us a little longer.”
“We’d like to get something in place for the proposed major subdivision,” he said.
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