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Homeowner wants ground-mounted solar panels regulated in Queensbury

Homeowner wants ground-mounted solar panels regulated in Queensbury


QUEENSBURY — A solar panel 16 feet tall has been mounted only 3 feet from resident John Hoy’s property, and he is not happy about it.

“It’s so tall it looks like a movie screen,” he said. “We ask (the neighbor), ‘What’s showing tonight?’”

He wants the Queensbury Town Board to add rules about setbacks and height restrictions for ground-mounted systems. He noted that the application for roof-mounted solar panels is more than 30 pages long.

“But there’s no rules for ground-mounts?” he said.

The panel is 50 feet wide and 16 feet tall. It was built next to his property line, he said.

“Even sheds have setbacks and rules,” he added.

The rules for sheds would not allow such a large structure so close to the property line without waivers. The owner would also have to go to the Planning Board for review, and neighbors would be able to tell the board how they felt about the idea — before it was built.

But there is no such process in town for ground-mounted solar panels, it appears.

The neighbor in question, who did not respond to a Post-Star request for comment, filed a permit for a roof-mounted system, to which Hoy has no objection. But then Apex Solar, which did not return a call seeking comment, leased a piece of the neighbor’s land and added a ground-mounted panel to collect more electricity, Hoy said.

“That, to me, is a business. We’re a residential neighborhood,” he said.

He wants the panel removed, calling it “obnoxious.” But he also wants the town to tighten its rules so the same thing can’t be built elsewhere.

His complaint to the town got the Town Board’s attention. Board member Jennifer Switzer has already gone to Haviland Avenue to look at the panel.

It’s easy to find. It can be seen from three different streets up to three houses away.

Supervisor John Strough plans to visit next week.

He told Hoy that he may have discovered a “gray area” that the board should clear up.

“We have regulations. Do they regulate ground-mount solar in a way that would make him and others happy? That’s what I’m going to look into,” Strough said Friday.

If more regulations are needed, he said, he would send a draft to the Town Board and see if there is a consensus for approval.

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on


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