February 9, 2017
New York

Moratorium to be placed on commercial solar in Newfield

By Jaime Cone | Ithaca Times | Feb 8, 2017 | www.ithaca.com

The Town of Newfield is looking to put a moratorium on commercial solar development while it drafts a local law that will put specific stipulations on any solar fields that may go up in the Town.

The Newfield Town Board will hold a requisite public hearing on the matter at 6:45 p.m. on Feb. 9, immediately before its regularly scheduled board meeting.

The moratorium would be for six months, but Town Supervisor Jeff Hart said that the board hopes to pass its new solar law within 90 days.

“The Town Board believes that the Town appears to be favorably situated for the establishment of solar energy facilities and/or wind farms,” the resolution states.

“The ability of the Town to plan for its orderly development and protect public health, safety and general welfare of the Town’s residents would be adversely affected” if solar farms are allowed to proceed without a local law pertaining to solar, it continues, adding “the Town Board also realizes that the Town is a rural and open community and that solar energy facilities or solar farms are an appropriate alternate and renewable energy production source.”

The drafting of the new law was prompted in large part by a proposal by Delaware River Solar to build arrays on five sites in Newfield.

The two sites proposed most recently raised the ire of local landowners, who attended recent Town Board and Newfield Planning Board meetings to complain.

“Hopefully we can avoid issues like these last homeowners had where they felt like their property values were being diminished by having the solar arrays in their viewshed,” said Hart.

A similar strategy was employed by the Newfield Town Board when Black Oak Wind Farm announced that it may want to build one of its turbines within Newfield Town lines; the board issued a moratorium on wind projects while it drafted a law pertaining specifically to wind.

Ultimately, Black Oak declined to build in Newfield, with its spokesperson saying that the setbacks laid out in the Town’s law were too onerous because they required the company to get permission to build from too many property owners.

The Town Board is simultaneously working with the Planning Board on a site plan review law to be enacted as soon as possible. Site Plan Review gives the Planning Board some authority to conduct reviews before projects are approved but does not dictate which parcels of land can or cannot be used for specific purposes.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2017/02/09/moratorium-to-be-placed-on-commercial-solar-in-newfield/