Columbus Seeks Moratorium On Solar Development

By: Shawn Magrath

Columbus seeks moratorium on solar development (Associated Press File Photo)

COLUMBUS – A year-long moratorium that would put brakes on commercial solar development in the Town of Columbus is being considered by town officials who say it's better to cover their bases than rush.

The Columbus Town Board mulled over the option at its regular monthly meeting Thursday, most board members arguing that a moratorium would buy time to ensure solar development – if approved – would somehow benefit town taxpayers.

The point, they say, is to avoid contention from residents like that now seen in the Town of Norwich where a 52,000 solar panel project is on track to be one of the largest community solar projects in New York.

Columbus Supervisor Tom Grace says a local law temporarily prohibiting commercial solar development is in the board's interest of protecting residents. The board aims to work with landowners who want to lease land to solar development firms, and with residents who view solar panels as an eyesore.

“Our intention is not to make it difficult for development,” said Grace, adding hopes that a moratorium would give the town pause to consider how solar should be pursued in the future. “And it's just commercial solar. It has nothing to do with rooftop solar or individual homes.”

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