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Concord Town Board passes law for solar installations

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By Kellen M. Quigley

There is a new law in effect in the town of Concord concerning installation of solar panels after action by the Town Board during its regular meeting earlier this month.
The town approved Local Law #2 for 2019 at its June 13 meeting that will apply to all solar energy systems permitted, installed or modified in the town.
According to the law, only solar energy systems installed or constructed after the law’s approval are subject to the requirements of the local law, while any already in use are exempt.
Prior to the approval, the town board held a public hearing concerning the law. During this time, Town Supervisor Clyde Drake informed the board of a couple concerns the town’s planning board had with the law.
One of the concerns was with the Do-it-Yourself section for if town residents wanted to install solar panels by themselves. After looking into it, Drake said the law requires a “qualified solar installer” to do it, but there is an option for residents who want to do it independently.
“Persons who are not on the NYSERDA list of eligible installers may be deemed qualified solar installers if the Concord Code Enforcement Officer or the Concord Town Board determines such persons as having training to perform the installation safely,” he said.
However, the downside to Do-it-Yourself installation is how it could reduce the amount of any federal tax reduction, Drake said.
“You would really have to have quite a bit of savings or the passion to do it yourself to want somebody other than a commercial qualified installer to put it in,” he added.
Councilman Kenneth Zittle questioned the requirement that a solar project must be behind or on the side of the residence and not in the front lawn, noting that some residents have long driveways with homes quite a ways from the road.
Town Attorney Brian Attea said a resident could seek a variance from the town to install solar panels in front of the home.

IN OTHER BUSINESS, Drake informed the board that a dechlorination project is needed for the Craneridge Sewer District because the state DEC sent the town a letter stating the sewer “needs a mechanism put in places that gets the chlorine out of the sewage before it goes into Cazenovia Creek.”
The project is estimated to be less than $5,000, according to MDA Engineers. The DEC requires the implementation of the project to be in compliance by Sept. 12.
Additionally, Drake said the DEC has directed a study be done for the Craneridge Sewer District and MDA has provided a proposal for engineering services.
The cost of the study is expected to be $10,500 to review the existing data and prepare a new program report. The completion of this project is required by April 2020.
The board also discussed the approval of new fees in the town, with $75 for flood, $2,500 for an initial solar fee and $1,000 for an annual solar fee, which were approved.
Councilman Phil Drozd recommended the town drop a $50 fee for a roofing permit, saying that many homeowners pay a significant amount of money hiring contractors. After discussion of whether or not to keep the fee at $50, drop it to $10 or remove it entirely, the council decided to table the decision until another meeting.

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