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Public Hearings Look At Solar Systems, And Comp. Plan

By David Prenatt

editorial@post-journal.com

SHERMAN — The Sherman Village Board and Mayor Colleen Meeder conducted two brief public hearings before their regular meeting July 14.

The first public hearing involved amending the Zoning Law regarding solar energy systems. The second hearing was held in preparation for the approval of the Village Comprehensive Plan.

Last year, the village adopted Local Law 4-2020 Enacting Regulations for Solar Energy Systems. This, along with LL 1-2020 and LL 2-2020, were under the recommendation of NYCOM and others as Solar and Telecommunications Systems were becoming a hot topic. LL 4-2020 was not properly integrated with the village’s Zoning Code, therefore the village drafted LL 1-2021, performed a SEQRA review, and in its amendment removes the solar law adopted last year and replaces article 619 in the village’s zoning law regarding the Regulation of Solar Energy Systems.

The village is involved in an “option to lease agreement” with Solar Liberty with the plan of creating a solar array.

“Increased concern in utility costs at the Village of Sherman’s wastewater treatment plant elevated the need for alternative energy solutions,” Meeder said at a prior meeting. “Essentially the Village of Sherman and Solar Liberty are looking to build community solar arrays, bringing benefits to the community.

The amendment was required, Meeder said, because the village’s attorney made recommendations. “Article 14 was added at the suggestion of the attorney,” Meeder said.

In the second public hearing, John Steinmetz, senior managing community planner for Barton & Loguidice, reviewed the comprehensive plan and the response of the community and the county Planning Department. Many of the public comments were very detailed, Steinmetz said.

“There were a lot of observations on the First Street project,” he said, “and some were more about the school district than the village.”

Steinmetz said that comments and observations from the community and the county were “extremely positive.” While many of the comments were ot directly relevant to the overall plan, an appendix with all public comments will be added to the Comprehensive Plan “so none of it’s being lost, none of it’s being ignored,” he said.

Steinmetz said the comments from the county Planning Department were “very complimentary.” The county provided five observations, which were “mostly positive,” he said. They applauded the Green Innovation Program and suggested the installation of electric charging stations, he added.

Three capital projects and several other village endeavors are part of the plan. “This really is where you’re supposed to start,” Meeder said.

Steinmetz said the comprehensive plan would help the village chart its course in the future and also assist in seeking grant monies.

“This plan kind of says, ‘We’ve thought about our future and this is where we want to go,'” he said.

The comprehensive plan was subsequently approved by board members at their regular meeting.

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