Morgan Frisch/Recorder staff
Montgomery County Senior Planner and GIS Specialist Amanda Bearcroft and planning board member David Wiener discuss Thursday the town of Palatine’s solar code during the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting.


Recorder News Staff

FONDA — The town of Palatine is following suit with several other Montgomery County municipalities and finalizing a solar law.

The Montgomery County Planning Board approved the town’s solar code Thursday during its monthly meeting.

Montgomery County Senior Planner and GIS Specialist Amanda Bearcroft said Palatine’s code is almost verbatim to other solar regulations approved that have been following the town of Florida’s guideline.

“There’s really nothing that stands out any differently from the other solar codes that the board has looked at,” Bearcroft said.

In early 2016, the town of Florida’s solar zoning regulations became a model ordinance to provide guidance to towns and villages when they receive solar farm applications. The regulations define any terms associated with solar panels, both small and large-scale and outlines rules applicants have to follow when applying for solar farms in the town. The guidelines have regulations on fencing, setbacks and other property lines.

According to the town of Palatine’s solar law the purpose “is intended to promote effective and efficient use of solar energy resources as well as set provisions for their placement, design, construction, operation, decommissioning and ultimately removal to be consistent with the town of Palatine’s intent to uphold public health, safety and welfare by promoting a clean wholesome and attractive environment; to preserve aesthetic qualities of the municipality and to prevent the depreciation of properties of persons in the community by ensuring that such systems will not have a significant adverse impact on the environment or the aesthetic qualities and character of the town of Palatine.”

Planning board member Dave Wiener mentioned one difference of this code compared to the town of Florida. For commercial solar systems, Palatine is requiring a 50 foot minimum setback, whereas Florida’s is a 200 foot minimum setback for commercial projects.

Bearcroft said Palatine’s law has a maximum size for a commercial solar system site of 20 acres.

“I think it’s very well done,” Wiener said.

Bearcroft said the code will be sent back to the Palatine Town Board for final approval. She said the municipality has already completed its public hearings and completed the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process.

“[The law is] to make sure there are some guidelines and protections for the residents while still allowing solar to come into the town,” Bearcroft said. “They are just putting regulations in place, safeguards for the residents.”