Schenectady

Glenville approves two-year solar moratorium for its agricultural residential district

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GLENVILLE — The town of Glenville has enacted a two-year moratorium on solar projects in its agricultural residential district.

Prior to the Wednesday vote of the Glenville Town Board, three town residents spoke on the issue during a public hearing. 

“I applaud the town for putting a stay for two years,” said Andy Tomko of Drott Drive. “I think that’s a smart and wise decision.” 

Tomko said that he’s not against solar, but the town should look into how much liability it takes on with these projects and what happens to the solar cells used in the project when they deteriorate. 

But both Stephen Urbanski of Riverside Drive and Aaron Gruenberg of Vley Road were against the moratorium. 

“I think electrification is the energy of the future,” Gruenberg said.

Urbanski was against the law because he said land owners should be able to determine what they want to do with their properties. However, he also said the town should look at ensuring that the sites will be cleaned up once the solar farm is no longer there. 

In a 4-1 vote in favor of the moratorium, board member Mike Godlewski was the one to vote against the measure. Godlewski said he was not against reviewing the law, but said the town could look over the law without a moratorium in place. He compared the moratorium to a no-vacancy sign on a hotel. 

“You see the no-vacancy sign and you keep going to another hotel,” he said, adding that it is the town’s responsibility to give people an opportunity to present their project. 

Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the town is not against solar, but has approved a lot of it — approximately 350 acres worth — and now is the time to step back and determine whether any changes to the law are needed. 

“It’s a measured position for us to take,” he said. 

Other members of the board echoed similar sentiments. 

“We need to be careful and respectful when crafting policy because it’s going to be in place a lot longer than we will be sitting on this dais,” Deputy Supervisor Gina Wierzbowski said.

There is a Code Review Committee meeting tentatively scheduled for May 17, said board member Jim Martin, who is the chairperson for that committee. The meetings are open to the public, Koetzle said. 

Martin also said he doesn’t believe the moratorium will actually be in place for two years, given how much research and other information has come out on solar. 

While the moratorium is in place, the town would review other legislation used by communities and look at resources provided by the state Energy Research and Development Authority and the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. 

The moratorium does not apply to the following already approved projects: U.S. Light Energy at 66 Freemans Bridge Road; Active Solar at 81 Freemans Bridge Road; Active Solar at Swaggertown Road east; and Active Solar at Swaggertown Road west.

While the moratorium is in place, the town will not accept any applications for solar farms, according to the law.

Reporter Shenandoah Briere can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on twitter at SB_DailyGazette.

Categories: News, Schenectady County, Scotia Glenville

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