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Solar energy farm possibilities mulled in Ogdensburg

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OGDENSBURG — City zoning and planning officials are considering the feasibility of allowing a solar energy farm in the city.

Meeting Wednesday, the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals discussed an inquiry made to Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith about setting up in a residential-business zone a solar farm that would generate energy from the sun through its panels and sell it to National Grid. She declined to identify the source of the proposal.

The zoning panel agreed to send the proposal to the Planning Board for its review when it meets Wednesday. It will be up to the latter group to decide whether a solar farm is a permitted use in a section of Ogdensburg that is zoned residential-business.

While neither endorsing nor dismissing the proposal in particular, the board agreed that harnessing energy from the sun is a good idea.

Permitted uses in a residential-business zone in city code include street-level retail, service uses, home occupations and water-reliant businesses.

Prohibited uses include billboards, taverns, mobile homes and industrial sites.

Solar power isn’t a foreign concept in Ogdensburg. The city’s Richard G. Lockwood Civic Center on West River Street has solar panels installed on its roof.

Also, in January, the city heard from S. Ram Shrivastava, president of Larsen Engineers, Rochester, a proposal that Ogdensburg could become energy-independent by installing solar panels and other renewable energy generators on municipal property.

The project’s costs would be covered by grants from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

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