Murray looks to update solar, wind energy laws

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 April 2021 at 1:41 pm

Town Supervisor doesn’t want to see prime farmland lost to renewable energy projects

MURRAY – The Town Board expects to pass a moratorium to give Murray officials time to review and update its ordinances for solar and wind energy projects.

The board could approve the moratorium during the May 17 Town Board meeting. Code Enforcement Officer Kevin Moore said the town should update the laws, especially for large-scale solar. Murray might consider looking at an overlay district where extra protections can be put in place for residents, Moore said.

The current ordinance doesn’t include any regulations or standards for battery storage systems for the solar projects, Moore said.

Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio said the town should also look at its ordinance for large-scale wind projects as part of the moratorium.

Sidonio said he wants to see protections for prime farmland from the projects. The renewable energy projects should be steered to marginal farmland, he said.

“Orleans County has some of the best farmland in the world,” Sidonio said. “It’s tragic that these projects are looking at some of our prime farmland.”

In other action, the Town Board:

Voted to raise the water rates for farmers by 25 cents from $4.25 to $4.50 per 1,000 gallons. This is for agriculture that uses water from town hydrants. The town provides meters for those users.

The 25 cents reflects the same increase to the town from the Monroe County Water Authority. The other town users will remain at a $4.99 rate per 1,000 gallons.

Accepted the resignation of Kevin Moore as the town’s code enforcement officer, effective May 1. Moore works full-time as code enforcement officer for the Town of Clarkson and he said his duties will be increasing in that community. He thanked the Town Board for the opportunity to work in Murray.

Accepted the resignation of Annette Curtis as the town’s clerk for the planning and zoning boards, effective May 1. Curtis will continue to work as the deputy town clerk. The town will look to fill the clerk and code officer positions.

Agreed to hire Jeff Martin as an attorney for the Planning Board on an as-needed basis at $175 an hour. That expense would be paid for by applicants for projects in the town, unless Martin is providing training for board members.