Busti Town Council Holds Public Hearing On Solar Law

BUSTI — A public hearing was held regarding the proposed solar facilites law for commercial and residential properties. While no one attended the hearing, council members talked about some small changes they would like to see made before the law is accepted.

Busti Town Council members said the law will tentatively be voted on at the next meeting after county approval is received. The solar facilities law will “regulate the construction, maintenance and placement of solar energy systems and equipment” according to the text of the proposed law.

For those interested in erecting small-scale solar systems after the law goes into effect, they would still have to receive a building permit from the town. Roof-mounted or ground-mounted solar energy systems have various new guidelines through which to be implemented.

Councilman Todd Hanson listed the most changes to the law. Those include changing how solar energy equipment would be installed as close to the public utility electrical meter as possible to how the equipment should be installed as close to the meter as would prove practical.

For large-scale solar systems, it was pointed out that vehicular paths to the equipment should “be designed to minimize the extent of impervious materials and soil compaction” and allow for the passage of emergency vehicles.

Hanson said there should not have to be fencing placed around large-scale solar systems as was originally stated in the proposed law.

He argued that since the law is supposed to encourage use of solar energy, it makes sense to help companies avoid the cost of erecting fencing. He also said that the equipment is safe and that fencing would only keep deer away from the equipment.

Special permits for solar energy systems will be valid for an open-ended period of time. Solar law could be revised in the future, but the goal of the law is to remain in effect for more than the normal year-long use a permit often allows.