Local Law Filing NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
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Town of Saratoga
Local Law No. 9 of the year 2016
A local law to enact regulations for the construction of solar collection systems in the Town of Saratoga.
Be it enacted by the Town Board of the
(Name of Legislative Body)
Town of Saratoga as follows:
Section 1. Article IV of the Zoning Regulations of the Town of Saratoga is hereby amended by adding Section 400-16.3 as follows:
Solar Collection Systems
Because it is in the public interest to provide for and encourage renewable energy systems and a sustainable quality of life, the purpose of this chapter is to facilitate the development and operation of renewable energy systems based on sunlight. Minor Solar Collection Systems are appropriate in all zoning districts when measures are taken, as provided in this chapter, to minimize adverse impacts on neighboring properties and protect the public health, safety and welfare. Major Solar Collection Systems are allowed only in the Rural and Rural Residential districts when measures are taken, as provided in this chapter, to minimize adverse impacts on neighboring properties and protect the public health, safety and welfare.
MAJOR SOLAR COLLECTION SYSTEM
An area of land or other area used for a solar collection system principally used to capture solar energy and convert it to electrical energy to transfer to the public electric grid in order to sell electricity to or receive a credit from a public utility entity, but which also may be for on-site use. Major solar collection systems consist of one or more freestanding ground or roof mounted solar collector devices, solar related equipment and other
accessory structures and buildings, including light reflectors, concentrators, heat exchangers, substations, electrical infrastructure, transmission lines and other appurtenant structures and facilities in which the total surface area of all solar collectors exceeds 2000 square feet. Major systems are allowed only in the Rural and Rural Residential zoning districts of the town.
MINOR SOLAR COLLECTION SYSTEM
A solar photovoltaic cell, panel or array, or solar hot air or water collector device, which relies upon solar radiation as an energy source for collection, inversion, storage and distribution of solar energy for electricity generation or transfer of stored heat, secondary to the use of the premises for other lawful purposes, with the total surface area of all solar collectors of such system not to exceed 2,000 square feet; roof or building mounted systems are exempt. Minor collection systems are allowed in all zoning districts of the town.
C. BUILDING PERMTS FOR MINOR SOLAR COLLECTION SYSTEMS
1) Rooftop and building mounted solar collectors are permitted in all zoning districts in the
Town. Building permits shall be required for installation of rooftop and building mounted
2) Ground mounted and freestanding solar collectors shall be permitted as accessory structures
in all zoning districts of the Town, subject to the following additional requirements for a building permit:
(a) The location of the solar collectors meets all applicable setback requirements of the
zone in which they are located.
(b) The height of the solar collectors and any mounts shall not exceed 15' in height
above ground when oriented at maximum tilt.
(c) The total surface area of all solar collectors on the lot shall not exceed the
percentage of lot coverage per zoning district when combined with all other
buildings and structures on the lot.
(d) A building permit has been obtained for the solar collectors.
(g) The solar collectors shall be located in a side or rear yard.
(h) Solar collectors and other facilities shall be designed and located in order to
prevent reflective glare toward any inhabited buildings or neighboring properties
(i) Landscaped buffer shall be provided around all equipment and solar collectors to
provide screening from adjacent or neighboring residential properties and roads.
3) The building permit review shall include review of the adequacy, location, arrangement, size,
design and general site compatibility of proposed solar collectors.
4) All solar collector installations must be performed in accordance with applicable electrical
and building codes, the manufacturer's installation instructions and industry standards, and
prior to operation the electrical connections must be inspected by the Town Code
Enforcement Officer or by an appropriate electrical inspection person or agency, as
determined by the Town. In addition, any connection to the public utility grid must be
inspected by the appropriate public utility.
5) When solar storage batteries are included as part of the solar collector system, they must
be placed in a secure container or enclosure meeting the requirements of the New York
State Building Code when in use and when no longer used shall be disposed of in
accordance with the laws and regulations of Saratoga County and other applicable laws
6) If a solar collector ceases to perform its originally intended function for more than 12
consecutive months, the property owner shall remove the collector, mount and associated
equipment and facilities no later than 90 days after the end of the 12 month period.
D) SPECIAL USE PERMITS FOR MAJOR SOLAR COLLECTION SYSTEMS
1. Where applicable, and unless more restrictive regulations apply, the requirements
of Article VIII of this chapter (Special Permitted Uses Regulations) shall also apply to installations for Major Collection Systems.
2. Major Systems shall be constructed pursuant to a Special Use Permit from the Town
Planning Board and must meet the criteria set forth below and obtain all other
3. Areas of potential sensitivity
(a) One-hundred-year flood hazard zones considered a V or AE Zone on the FEMA
(b) Historic and/or culturally significant resources in an historic district or historic
(c) Within 100 feet landward of a freshwater wetland.
(d) Adjacent to or within the control zone of any airport.
4. Major Systems shall be permitted in the Rural and Rural Residential Districts of the Town
only when authorized by special use permit from the Planning Board subject to the following
terms and conditions:
(a) The total coverage of all buildings and structures on a lot, including freestanding
solar panels, shall not exceed the percentage of lot coverage per zoning regulations per district.
(b) Height and setback restrictions
i. The maximum height for freestanding solar panels located on the ground
or attached to a framework located on the ground shall not exceed 15'
in height above the ground.
ii. The minimum setback from property lines shall be 25'.
iii. A landscaped buffer shall be provided around all equipment and solar
collectors to provide screening from neighboring residential properties
(c) Design Standards
i. Removal of trees and other existing vegetation should be minimized or
offset with planting elsewhere on the property.
ii. Roadways within the site shall not be constructed of impervious
materials and shall be designed to minimize the extent of roadways
constructed and soil compaction.
iii. All on-site utility and transmission lines shall, to the extent feasible,
be placed underground.
iv. Solar collectors and other facilities shall be designed and located in
order to prevent reflective glare toward any inhabited buildings or
neighboring properties and roads.
v. All electrical equipment, including any structure for batteries or
storage cells, shall be enclosed by a minimum six foot high fence with
a self-locking gate and provided with landscaping screening.
vi. Major System to be connected to the utility grid shall provide a "proof
of concept" letter from the utility company acknowledging the major
system will be connected to the utility grid in order to sell electricity to the
i. A sign shall not exceed eight square feet shall be displayed on or near the main
access point and shall list the facility name, owner and phone number.
ii. A clearly visible warning sign concerning voltage must be placed at the
base of all pad-mounted transformers and substations.
iii. Disconnects are to be clearly marked.
i. All applications for a major system shall be accompanied by a
decommissioning plan and associated bond to be implemented upon
abandonment, or cessation of activity, or in conjunction with removal
of the facility, prior to issuance of a building permit.
ii. If the applicant begins but does not complete construction of the project
within 12 months after receiving final site plan and special use permit
approval, this may be deemed abandonment of the project and require
implementation of the decommissioning plan to the extent applicable.
iii. The decommissioning plan must ensure the site will be restored to a
useful, nonhazardous condition without delay, including, but not limited
to, the following:
a. Removal of aboveground and below ground equipment, structures
b. Restoration of the surface grade and soil after removal of equipment.
c. Re-vegetation of restored soil areas with native seed mixes, excluding
any invasive species.
d. The plan shall include a time frame for the completion of site
iv. In the event the facility is not completed and functioning within 12 months of
the issuance of the final site plan and special use permit approval, the Town
may notify the operator and/or the owner to complete construction and
installation of the facility within 180 days. If the owner and/or operator fails
to perform, the Town may notify the owner and/or operator to implement the
decommissioning plan. the decommissioning plan must be completed within
180 days of notification by the Town.
v. Upon cessation of activity of a constructed facility for a period of one year, the
Town may notify the owner and/or operator of the facility to implement the
decommissioning plan. Within 180 days of notice being served, the owner
and/or operator can either restore operation equal to 80% of approved capacity
or implement the decommissioning plan.
vi. If the owner and/or operator fails to fully implement the decommissioning plan
within the 180 day period, the Town may, at its discretion, provide for the
restoration of the site in accordance with the decommissioning plan and may
recover all expenses incurred for such activities from the defaulted owner and/
or operator. The cost incurred by the Town shall be assessed against the
property, shall become a lien and tax upon the property, and shall be enforced
and collected with interest by the same officer and in the same manner as other
E. FEE SCHEDULE
1) Application fee for minor solar collection system - $50.00
2) Application for major solar collection system - $3,000.00 plus an engineering escrow deposit of $2,000.00.
3) Annual inspection fee for major systems - $250.00
Section 2. Effective Date
This Local Law shall take effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State of
the State of New York.