Northeast Region County-level Agrisolar Policy

Montgomery, New York  Mount Hope, New York
Year Established 2022 and 2019, amended 2017 local law 2019
Size: Small A utility-scale solar energy system shall not occupy greater than 45% of the total acreage of the parent parcel or 80% for Dual-Use Systems in all residential zones and no greater than 70% in all commercial, interchange and industrial zones. A solar facility or solar power plant shall only be permitted on lots with a minimum size of 10 acres. Developmental coverage of a lot with a solar facility or solar power plant shall not exceed 85%.
Size: Medium
Size: Large A maximum of 20 acres of solar panel systems on any one parcel, unless such system is a Dual-Use Solar System in which instance the maximum will be forty (40) acres. No written restrictions on the maximum size of a solar power plant.
Solar Allowed on Which Zoning Designations Allowed on all zoning districts except for residential or agricultural zoning districts where more than thirty (30%) percent of land to be disturbed by the solar energy system has been classified as having NRCS Class I or Class II soils. Solar facilities and solar power plants shall be permitted as structures in all zoning districts.
Solar on Agricultural Lands Utility Scale Solar Facilities are permitted especially in all zoning districts in the Town of Montgomery except for land areas in residential or agricultural zoning districts where more than 30% percent of land to be disturbed by the solar energy system has been classified as having NRCS Class I or Class II soils unless said system is classified as a Dual Use System in which event this restriction shall not apply. No written restriction on solar energy systems on agriculturally zoned land.
Permitting All applications for utility-scale solar energy systems shall be accompanied by an application for special use permit and site plan review, and all applicable fees as may be established by Town Board resolution. Both site plan and special use permit reviews and approvals are required. The Planning Board shall, however, concurrently review the site plan and special use permit applications. Site plan and special use permit approval granted by the Town of Mount Hope Planning Board is required under Article XI herein.
Solar Energy Facility Application Requirements Permit Application Requirements:
i) A completed application form
ii) Plans and drawing of the solar energy system installation
iii) Electrical Diagram
iv) Documentations of access to the project site
v) Land Grading and Vegetation Clearing Plan and a Cut and Fill Analysis Plan
vi) Stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP)
vii) Documentation of utility notification
viii) Decommission plan and description of financial surety
ix) Photo simulations of the proposed solar energy system,
x) Part 1 of the Full Environmental Assessment Form
xi) Details of the proposed noise generated by inverters
xii) Compliance with general standards for Special Use Permits
Site plans shall indicate the following:
i) Location of all existing and proposed structures and outdoor signs
ii) Location of all uses not requiring a structure
iii) Location of driveways, parking and loading areas with the number of stalls provided therewith
iv) Existing and proposed storm drainage facilities
v) Location of buffer strips and screening where necessary
vi) Where the applicant wishes to develop in stages, a site plan indicating ultimate development shall be presented for approval.
vii) In the case of uses requiring approval of the New York State Department of Health, the approval of said Department
viii) Names of all other agencies whose approval is needed for the proposed use
ix) All easements, restrictions, covenants and other matters of record affecting the subject premises shall also be shown on the plan. Written copies of said restrictions shall be provided, if requested
x) All farm operations in accordance with the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law within 500 feet of the property
xi) All existing or proposed wells and septic systems
xii) Stormwater pollution prevention plan
Additional for solar facilities:
a) A written narrative describing how the solar facility or solar power plant will be constructed, operated and maintained
b) Manufacturer’s information and specifications for the proposed solar facility or solar power plant
c) A written narrative describing the eventual decommissioning of the solar facility or solar power plant
Height Restrictions The average height of the solar panel arrays shall not exceed 20 feet. The height of the freestanding or ground-mounted solar collectors and any mounts shall not exceed 15 feet when oriented at maximum tilt.
Setback Requirements In all zoning districts:
– Minimum setback is 150 ft from front property line
– Rear and side yard setbacks seem to be the same
All solar facility or solar power plant equipment and installations shall be subject to a minimum setback of 100 feet plus the setback minimum from all property lines required in the zoning district. The Planning Board may require increased setbacks as it deems necessary based on the surrounding conditions.
Noise Restrictions N/A N/A
Dust Restrictions N/A N/A
Glare Restrictions The design, construction, operation, and maintenance of any solar energy system shall prevent the misdirection and/or reflections of solar rays onto neighboring properties, public road, and public parks. Solar facility and solar power plant panels and equipment shall be surfaced, designed and sited so as not to reflect glare onto adjacent properties and roadways.
Vegetation Management Site plans shall be developed to provide, to the maximum extent possible, for the preservation of natural vegetation in large unbroken blocks that also allows for contiguous vegetated spaces to be established when adjacent parcels are developed. N/A
Fencing Minimum of seven (7) feet in height incorporating adequate wildlife openings for smaller mammals and rodents to pass. The solar facility or solar power plant installation shall be enclosed by a fence consistent with NYSERDA regulations. Planning Board may require a greater height in fencing depending on individual conditions.
Screening / Vegetative Barrier Existing on-site vegetation designated to be utilized as screening shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible and shall be diligently maintained to protect its vitality. The solar facility or solar power plant shall be screened when possible and practicable from adjoining lots and street rights of way through the use of architectural features, earth berms, landscaping, or other screening which will harmonize with the character of the property and surrounding area. The proposed screening shall not interfere with the normal operation of the solar collectors. Additional screening may be required as part of the Planning Board approval.
Decommissioning / Reclamation Plan Plan shall identify the anticipated life of the project, method and process for removing all components of the solar energy system and returning the site to its preexisting condition, and estimated decommissioning costs, including any salvage value. Utility-scale solar energy systems which have not been in active and continuous service for a period of 12 months shall be deemed abandoned and removed at the owner’s or operator’s expense. A written narrative describing the eventual decommissioning of the solar facility or solar power plant that describes the anticipated life of the solar facility or solar power plant, the estimated decommissioning costs and the method for insuring funds will be available for decommissioning and restoration of the site.
Decommissioning / Reclamation Bond The Planning Board shall require the filing of acceptable security for the purposes of removal and restoration.  The amount of any decommissioning security shall be no less than 150% of the estimate of total cost of removal of the solar energy system and related facilities and restoration of the site. The amount of such security shall be reviewed every 3 years by the Planning Board to determine whether the current security amount is adequate. Acceptable forms of security shall include in order of preference: cash or a letter of credit that must be maintained in full force and effect, or a combination thereof. A bond shall only be allowed if deemed appropriate by the Town Board. No bond required, but has information on payment for decommissioning.  Whenever a notice or notices referred to in this publication has or have been served upon or posted on said real property requiring such owner or owners of the respective lots or parcels to remove a freestanding solar power system, ground-mounted solar power system, solar facility or solar power plant, and such owner or owners shall neglect or fail to comply with the requirements of such notice or notices within the time provided therein, the Town Supervisor may authorize the work to be done and pay the cost thereof out of general Town funds or authorize Town employees and equipment to perform the work.  The Town shall be reimbursed for the cost of the work performed or services rendered by direction of the Town Supervisor, as herein provided, by assessment and levy upon the lots or parcels of land wherein such work was performed or such services rendered, and the expenses so assessed shall constitute a lien and charge on the real property on which they are levied until paid or otherwise satisfied or discharged and shall be collected in the same manner and at the same time as other Town charges.