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Ballston passes solar restrictions

— Ballston residents wishing to erect a freestanding solar array will have fewer options now that the town has adopted a law restricting their placement.

Ina 3-2 vote on Tuesday, Aug. 8, the board adopted the long-discussed law. Supervisor Patti Southworth and Councilman Jeremy Knight dissented.

“The legislation will go into effect once it is approved by the secretary of the state,” Southworth said in an interview. She added the paperwork would be submitted sometime during the week of Aug. 13. The process should take about 30 days.

Thesubject had been discussed for several months after a group of residents filed a lawsuit in late March against Brian and Christa Haines. The Haines’ had a freestanding solar system installed at their home on Long Creek Drive in the Seelye Estates West housing development, and neighbors said the installation had adversely affected property values.

The week prior to the vote, about 50 people turned out for a public hearing on the law.

The legislation imposes a height restriction of 10 feet to solar panels mounted on poles, and does not allow them to be constructed in front yards. Under the existing rules, such arrays are considered accessory structures and can be erected with a building permit. Solar panels mounted on roofs are not affected by the legislation and will still be allowed.

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