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Cape supervisor pulls variance request for residential solar project

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CAPE VINCENT — Town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey is pulling his zoning variance request to reinstall a 7.2-kilowatt solar panel array.

Mr. Hirschey said Monday that he’s now considering expanding the project he will propose at his Tibbetts Point Road residence.

Town law currently prohibits ground-based solar arrays of more than 100 square feet in the lake and river district, where Mr. Hirschey resides, but local officials are looking at aligning local requirements with state guidelines.

Under the existing rules, Mr. Hirschey’s original 544-square-foot array installation project requires both a zoning variance and a special use permit.

Upon learning this was an illegal project under town law, Mr. Hirschey took down his pole-mounted solar panel array last month and asked the Zoning Board of Appeals to grant him a variance to put it back up.

In April, Mr. Hirschey was issued a work permit improperly for the solar array installation by Cape Vincent’s zoning enforcement officer, James G. Millington Jr., who made a similar permitting error this summer.

Mr. Millington erroneously renewed Roger D. Alexander’s solar project permit in July — allowing him to move forward with the installation of two 720-square-foot solar panel arrays at his County Route 7 mobile home park — partly because of confusions stemming from Cape Vincent’s complete overhaul of its zoning law last year.

Despite admitting to mistakes made by the zoning officer, the ZBA upheld Mr. Alexander’s permit on Oct. 7.

Mr. Hirschey said he has put his solar project on hold to do more study on New York State Energy Research and Development Authority incentives for photovoltaic projects larger than 10 kilowatts.

The public hearing scheduled for Nov. 4 to discuss Mr. Hirschey’s project has been canceled.

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