Town of Mount Hope, NY
Orange County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 108.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 210.
Zoning — See Ch. 250.
[Adopted 4-25-2016 by L.L. No. 4-2016]
A. 
Solar energy is a renewable and nonpolluting energy resource that can prevent fossil fuel emissions and reduce a municipality's energy load. Energy generated from solar energy systems can be used to offset energy demand on the grid where excess solar power is generated.
B. 
The use of solar energy equipment for the purpose of providing electricity and energy for heating and/or cooling is a priority and is a necessary component of the Town's current and long-term sustainability agenda.
C. 
This article aims to promote the accommodation of solar energy systems and equipment and the provision for adequate sunlight and convenience of access necessary therefor.
A. 
The increase in state and federal support for non-petroleum-based, renewable energy source uses, including the desirability of solar energy generating facilities being proposed to be located within the County of Orange, provide a possibility for a significant increase of having a potential number of individuals, companies and/or property owners seeking to create, establish and/or operate solar use facilities.
B. 
The Town of Mount Hope Town Board has determined that it is appropriate to monitor the installation of solar use facilities by utilization of appropriate regulation and fees relative to said use by local property owners. Based upon studies and evaluations examining regulation of residential uses throughout the State of New York, the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope has determined that appropriate methodologies must be created to monitor 1) small-scale (up to a maximum of 12 kilowatts), roof-mounted, residential solar energy uses; 2) small scale (up to a maximum of 12 kilowatts), ground-mounted, residential solar energy uses; and 3) large-scale (exceeding 12 kilowatts), ground-mounted, commercial solar energy uses. The goal is to regulate these uses without significant cost to, or interference with, property owners.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACCESSORY STRUCTURE
A structure, the use of which is customarily incidental and subordinate to that of the principal building and is attached thereto, and is located on the same lot or premises as the principal building.
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SYSTEMS
Structures, equipment, devices or construction techniques used for the production of heat, light, cooling, electricity or other forms of energy on site and may be attached to or separate from the principal building.
BUILDING-INTEGRATED PHOTOVOLTAIC (BIPV) SYSTEMS
A solar energy system that consists of integrating photovoltaic modules into the building structure, such as the roof or the facade, and which does not alter the relief of the roof.
COLLECTIVE SOLAR
Solar installations owned collectively through subdivision homeowner associations, college student groups, "adopt-a-solar-panel" programs, or other similar arrangements.
EXPEDITED REVIEW
The grant of a priority status to an application that results in the review of the application ahead of applications filed prior thereto, including applications which may be currently under review by the applicable agency.
FLUSH-MOUNTED SOLAR PANEL
Photovoltaic panels and tiles that are installed flush to the surface of a roof and which cannot be angled or raised.
FREESTANDING OR GROUND-MOUNTED SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
A solar energy system that is directly installed in/on the ground, or as modules fixed to frames which can be tilted toward the south at an optimal angle, and which is not attached or affixed to an existing structure.
LARGE-SCALE SOLAR
For purposes of this article, the term "large-scale solar" refers to solar photovoltaic systems that produce more than 12 kilowatts per hour of energy or solar-thermal systems which, although it may serve the building or electrical service to which they are attached, provides energy for other buildings, other properties or the commercial electrical grid.
NET-METERING
A billing arrangement that allows solar customers to get credit for excess electricity that they generate and deliver back to the grid so they only pay for their net electricity usage at the end of the month.
PERMIT GRANTING AUTHORITY
The Town authority charged with granting permits for the operation of solar energy systems.
PHOTOVOLTAIC (PV) SYSTEMS
A solar energy system that produces electricity by the use of semiconductor devices, called photovoltaic cells, that generate electricity whenever light strikes them.
QUALIFIED SOLAR INSTALLER
A person who has skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of solar electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training on the hazards involved. Persons who are on the list of eligible photovoltaic installers maintained by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), or who are certified as a solar installer by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), shall be deemed to be qualified solar installers for the purposes of this definition. Persons who are not on NYSERDA's list of eligible installers or NABCEP's list of certified installers may be deemed to be qualified solar installers if the Town determines such persons have had adequate training to determine the degree and extent of the hazard and the personal protective equipment and job planning necessary to perform the installation safely. Such training shall include the proper use of special precautionary techniques and personal protective equipment, as well as the skills and techniques necessary to distinguish exposed energized parts from other parts of electrical equipment and to determine the nominal voltage of exposed live parts.
ROOFTOP OR BUILDING-MOUNTED SOLAR SYSTEM
A solar power system in which solar panels are mounted on top of the structure of a roof either as a flush-mounted system or as modules fixed to frames which can be tilted toward the south at an optimal angle.
SMALL-SCALE SOLAR
For purposes of this article, the term "small-scale solar" refers to solar photovoltaic systems that produce up to 12 kilowatts per hour of energy or solar-thermal systems which serve only the building or electrical service to which they are attached, and do not provide energy for any other buildings.
SOLAR ACCESS
Space open to the sun and clear of overhangs or shade including the orientation of streets and lots to the sun so as to permit the use of active and/or passive solar energy systems on individual properties.
SOLAR COLLECTOR
A solar photovoltaic cell, panel, or array, or solar hot air or water collector device, which relies upon solar radiation as an energy source for the generation of electricity or transfer of stored heat.
SOLAR EASEMENT
An easement recorded pursuant to New York Real Property Law § 335-b, the purpose of which is to secure the right to receive sunlight across real property of another for continued access to sunlight necessary to operate a solar collector.
SOLAR ENERGY EQUIPMENT/SYSTEM
Solar collectors, controls, energy storage devices, heat pumps, heat exchangers, and other materials, hardware or equipment necessary to the process by which solar radiation is collected, converted into another form of energy, stored, protected from unnecessary dissipation and distributed. Solar systems include solar thermal, photovoltaic and concentrated solar.
SOLAR PANEL
A device for the direct conversion of solar energy into electricity.
SOLAR POWER FAST-TRACK PROGRAM
A program to expedite all applications for commercial and residential solar panel installation to encourage the use of reliable and clean renewable energy.
SOLAR STORAGE BATTERY
A device that stores energy from the sun and makes it available in an electrical form.
SOLAR-THERMAL SYSTEMS
Solar thermal systems directly heat water or other liquids using sunlight. The heated liquid is used for purposes such as space heating and cooling, domestic hot water, and heating pool water.
A. 
The requirements of this article shall apply to all solar energy systems, (residential, commercial, multi-family and condominium), proposed, modified or installed after the effective date of this article.
B. 
Solar energy systems for which a valid permit has been previously and properly issued, or for which installation has commenced, prior to the effective date of this article shall not be required to meet the requirements of this article except in accordance with § 193-6D, E, F and G.
C. 
All solar energy systems shall be designed, erected and installed in accordance with all applicable codes, regulations and standards.
D. 
Small-scale solar energy collectors shall be permitted only to provide power for use by owners, lessees, tenants, residents, or other occupants of the premises on which they are erected, but nothing contained in this provision shall be construed to prohibit "collective solar" installations or the sale of excess power through a "net billing" or "net-Metering" arrangement in accordance with New York State Public Service Law § 66-j or similar state or federal statutes.
E. 
Large-scale solar energy collectors shall not be restricted to providing power only for use by owners, lessees, tenants, residents, or other occupants of the premise on which they are erected.
A. 
No solar energy system or device shall be installed or operated in the Town except in compliance with this article.
B. 
To the extent practicable, and in accordance with Town law, the accommodation of solar energy systems and equipment and the protection of access to sunlight for such equipment shall be encouraged in the application of the various review and approval provisions of the Town Code.
C. 
Rooftop and building-mounted solar collectors. Rooftop and building mounted solar collectors are permitted in all zoning districts in the Town except the RP-1 and RP-2 Zoning Districts, subject to the following conditions:
(1) 
No Planning Board review and site plan approval shall be required for the installation of a small-scale rooftop or building-mounted solar collector. The Town shall utilize the New York State Unified Solar Permit in addition to or as an alternative to the existing Town Law in order to accomplish the stated purposes of the Town Board.
(2) 
Planning Board review and site plan approval shall be required for the installation of any large-scale solar collector.
(3) 
Building permits shall be required for installation of all rooftop and building-mounted solar collectors.
(4) 
Any height limitations of the Town Code shall be applicable to solar collectors provided that such structures are erected only to such height as is reasonably necessary to accomplish the purpose for which they are intended to serve, and that such structures do not obstruct solar access to neighboring properties.
(5) 
Placement of solar collectors shall be allowed provided that panels do not extend horizontally past the roofline.
D. 
Building-integrated prohotovoltaic (BIPV) systems. BIPV systems are permitted in all zoning districts.
E. 
Ground-mounted and freestanding small-scale solar collectors. Ground-mounted and freestanding solar collectors are permitted as accessory structures in all zoning districts of the Town, except the RP-1 and RP-2, subject to the following conditions:
(1) 
No Planning Board review and site plan approval shall be required for the installation of a small-scale ground-mounted or freestanding solar collector. Planning Board review and site plan approval shall be required for the installation of any large-scale solar collector.
(2) 
Building permits are required for the installation of all ground-mounted or freestanding solar collectors.
(3) 
The location of the solar collector must meet all applicable setback requirements for accessory structures in the zoning district in which it is located.
(4) 
The height of the solar collector and any mounts shall not exceed 20 feet when oriented at maximum tilt.
(5) 
Solar energy equipment shall be located in a manner to reasonably minimize view blockage for surrounding properties and shading of property to the north, while still providing adequate solar access for collectors.
(6) 
Freestanding solar energy collectors shall be screened when possible and practicable through the use of architectural features, earth berms, landscaping, or other screening which will harmonize with the character of the property and surrounding area.
F. 
Ground-mounted and freestanding large-scale solar collectors. Ground-mounted and freestanding solar collectors are permitted as principal structures in all zoning districts of the Town, except the RP-1 and RP-2, subject to the following conditions:
(1) 
Planning Board review and site plan approval shall be required for the installation of a large-scale ground-mounted or freestanding solar collector proposed to be constructed as a principal use. Planning Board review and site plan approval shall be required for the installation of any large-scale solar collector.
(2) 
Building permits are required for the installation of all large-scale ground-mounted or freestanding solar collectors.
(3) 
The location of the solar collector must meet all applicable setback requirements for principal and/or accessory structures in the zoning district in which it is located. In cases where the setback requirements differ, the collector must meet the more restrictive setback requirements for the zoning district in which the parcel is located.
(4) 
The height of the solar collector and any mounts shall not exceed 20 feet when oriented at maximum tilt.
(5) 
Solar energy equipment shall be located in a manner to reasonably minimize view blockage for surrounding properties and shading of property to the north, while still providing adequate solar access for collectors.
(6) 
Freestanding solar energy collectors shall be screened when possible and practicable through the use of architectural features, earth berms, landscaping, or other screening which will harmonize with the character of the property and surrounding area.
G. 
Solar-thermal systems. Solar-thermal systems are permitted in all zoning districts subject to the following condition:
(1) 
Building permits are required for the installation of all solar-thermal systems.
H. 
Solar energy systems and equipment shall be permitted only if they are determined by the Town not to present any unreasonable safety risks, including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) 
Weight load.
(2) 
Wind resistance.
(3) 
Ingress or egress in the event of fire or other emergency.
A. 
All solar collector installations must be performed by a qualified solar installer.
B. 
Prior to operation, electrical connections must be inspected by an electrical underwriter, Town Code Enforcement Officer, and/or by an appropriate electrical inspection person or agency, as determined by the Town.
C. 
Any connection to the public utility grid must be inspected by the appropriate public utility.
D. 
Solar energy systems shall be maintained in good working order.
E. 
Rooftop and building-mounted solar collectors shall meet New York's Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code standards.
F. 
If solar storage batteries are included as part of the solar collector system, they must be placed in a secure container or enclosure meeting the requirements of the New York State Building Code when in use and when no longer used shall be disposed of in accordance with the laws and regulations of Town and other applicable laws and regulations.
G. 
If a solar collector ceases to perform its originally intended function due to damage for more than 12 consecutive months, the property owner shall remove the collector, mount and associated equipment by no later than 90 days after the end of the twelve-month period, unless the equipment poses a safety hazard or is an eyesore, in which circumstance removal must be performed within 30 days.
A. 
If an individual is found to be in violation of the provisions of this article, appeals would be made in accordance with the established procedures of the Town code.
B. 
If a building permit for a solar energy device is denied because of a conflict with other goals of the Town, the applicant may seek relief from the Town Zoning Board of Appeals which shall regard solar energy as a factor to be considered, weighed and balanced along with other factors.
A. 
New structures will be encouraged to be sited to take advantage of solar access insofar as practical, including the orientation of proposed buildings with respect to sun angles, the shading and windscreen potential of existing and proposed vegetation on and off site, and the impact of solar access to adjacent uses and properties.
B. 
To permit maximum solar access to proposed lots and future buildings, wherever reasonably feasible, consistent with other appropriate design considerations, new streets shall be located on an east-west axis to encourage building siting with the maximum exposure of roof and wall area to the sun. The Town Planning Board shall also consider the slope of the property and the nature and location of existing vegetation as they affect solar access.
C. 
The impact of street trees on the solar access of the surrounding property shall be minimized to the greatest possible extent in selecting and locating shade trees. Every effort shall be made to avoid shading possible locations of solar collectors.
D. 
When the Planning Board and/or Zoning Board of Appeals reviews and acts upon applications for subdivision approval or site plan approval, it shall take into consideration whether the proposed construction would block access to sunlight between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time for existing approved solar energy collectors or for solar energy collectors for which a permit has been issued.
E. 
The Town Planning Board may require subdivisions to be platted so as to preserve or enhance solar access for either passive or active systems, consistent with the other requirements of the Town Code.
[Adopted 4-25-2016 by L.L. No. 5-2016]
It is recognized that there are some uses which, because of their very nature, are recognized as having potentially beneficial characteristics having the potential to benefit both local citizenry and society at large; that although there are significant potential benefits, there are aspects of such a use that make minimal review and regulation in order to benefit the health, welfare, enjoyment and well-being of the citizens of the Town of Mount Hope and those who live within the Town; and that the modest review and regulation of such activities is necessary to insure that these uses will not contribute to the blighting or downgrading of neighborhoods. It is further recognized that because the Town of Mount Hope is a small residential town, the proliferation of such uses could dangerously affect the welfare of the entire community and a regulation is required in order to prevent such endangering. Residential solar uses and the operational characteristics of such uses are this kind of use.
A. 
The increase in state and federal support for non-petroleum-based, renewable energy source uses, including the desirability of residential solar energy generating facilities being proposed to be located within the County of Orange, provide a possibility for a significant increase of having a potential number of individuals, companies and/or property owners seeking to create, establish and/or operate residential solar use facilities.
B. 
The Town of Mount Hope Town Board has determined that it is appropriate to monitor the installation of residential solar use facilities while still enabling said use without substantial regulation and cost to local property owners. Based upon studies and evaluations examining regulation of residential uses throughout the State of New York, the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope has determined that an appropriate methodology to monitor small scale (up to a maximum of 12 kilowatts), roof-mounted, residential solar energy uses without significant cost to, or interference with, property owners is to utilize the New York State Unified Solar Permit in addition to or as an alternative to the existing Town Law in order to accomplish the state purposes of the Town Board.
A. 
Effective immediately, the Town of Mount Hope, County of Orange, State of New York, adopts the New York State Unified Solar Permit for small-scale (less than 12 kilowatts), roof-mounted, residential solar generating facilities. Effective upon the date of adoption of this article, the Building Department of the Town of Mount Hope, County of Orange, State of New York, is hereby empowered to accept the New York State Unified Solar Permit for small-scale, roof-mounted, residential solar generating facilities, along with fees as may be established for the filing thereof, and to issue permits upon satisfactory review and approval of same. Similarly, the Building Department of the Town of Mount Hope, County of Orange, State of New York, is hereby empowered to issue approvals, permits, or certificates of occupancy for the opening, siting, maintenance and operation of such a residential solar use. This article shall be binding on the Building Inspector, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and every applicant or property owner in the Town.
A violation of this article shall constitute a violation under the Penal Law. Any person convicted of violating this article shall be a violation and subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or 15 days in jail or both. Each day a violation continues shall be considered a separate violation.
A. 
Town Law § 274-a is hereby amended and superseded in its application to the Town of Mount Hope by providing authority to the Building Department to review and approve applications with respect to residential solar uses.
B. 
Town Law § 274-b is hereby amended and superseded in its application to the Town of Mount Hope by restricting the authority of the Planning Board to review or grant applications with respect to residential solar uses.
C. 
Town Law § 274-c is hereby amended and superseded in its application to the Town of Mount Hope by restricting the authority of the Zoning Board of Appeals to review or grant applications with respect to commercial solar uses.