One Law Is Tabled, Another Voted Down
by Deb Alter
On Monday, February 22, The Hoosick Town Board held two Public Hearings concerning solar farms.
[private]The first Public Hearing concerned the tax exemption for solar installations that falls under Section 487 of the Real Property Tax Law of NY State. The options discussed were to do nothing and allow the exemptions to stand, to pass a Local Law that would allow an exemption to be carved out for residential installations and ones that benefit the community directly, to vote to allow no exemptions for any solar, or to put some sort of Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) in place. Varying opinions were shared by individuals in the audience.
The second Hearing was about passing a Local Law that would place a temporary (six month) moratorium on large-scale, ground-mounted solar arrays. Again, residents shared their viewpoints on the subject, both for and against.
A Special Meeting followed to consider the public’s input and votes on the proposed laws. Before voting, Board members discussed the pros and cons on each issue. They voted to table the Local Law that addressd taxation. They will research the PILOT option further, since other communities have started to set examples recently. They also voted not to send the moratorium law to the County for approval (in essence, voted no on the moratorium). Their reasoning was that there are no new projects on the horizon, and the State is about to publish a zoning law template that will provide guidance to the Solar Committee. The Committee is close to having recommendations for the Zoning and Town Boards on guidelines for, and some specific controls on future solar farms.
Board Member Jeff Wysocki abstained from the discussion and the vote because he has a solar project pending.[/private]