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"" featured Pace University Law School Land Use Center in "Richmond Law seeking to help residents go solar"


"" featured Pace University Law School Land Use Center in "Richmond Law seeking to help residents go solar"

The Richmond Town Board recently adopted new zoning regulations and a streamlined permit process for solar installations to make it easier for homeowners to go green.

Under the town’s old solar code, property owners had to apply for a special use permit and go through a site plan review before installing ground- or roof-mounted solar panels, a process that required them to appear before the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.

Now, homeowners can meet with Richmond’s Code Enforcement Office and fill out a state Unified Solar Permit application for solar installations up to 25 kW. Once the project is installed and a third-party electrical inspection completed, Richmond’s code officer will sign off on the solar system using a standardized safety inspection checklist. A $50 permitting fee applies.

Councilmember Steve Barnhoorn, who led the process of drafting and vetting the new solar regulations, said the change was overdue.

“Since we put solar on our books in 1987, the technology and how we handled permits has changed significantly,” he said. “With an uptick in the number of residential solar installation permits over the past few years, it’s timely that we’ve updated our code.”

The change required alterations to multiple sections of zoning code. With commercial solar developers starting to knock on the town’s doors, local officials wanted to ensure that clean energy regulations were done right. Ultimately, it took eight months to complete the new regulations, which are based on a model law developed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority with technical assistance from Pace University Law School Land Use Center.

Read the full article.