Cobleskill Approves New Solar, Wind Energy Law

By Chris English

Town of Cobleskill Deputy Supervisor Roger Mallery discusses a new town law regulating large scale solar energy systems and small wind energy systems at the May 13 board meeting. On the left is Town Clerk Tina Ward. Photo: Chris English.

COBLESKILL — The town of Cobleskill has a new law regulating large-scale solar energy systems and small wind energy systems after the town board voted to approve the measure at its Monday, May 13 meeting.

Deputy Town Supervisor Roger Mallery and Council Members Alan Rubin, Linda Angell, and Lisa Wayman all voted to approve Local Law No. 2 of 2024 after a brief public hearing. Among many other provisions, the new law sets forth what zoning districts within the town such facilities can be located. The 27-page document should be available for viewing on the town website fairly soon, board members said.

Mallery explained that the town’s moratorium on solar and wind power facilities expires next month and it was important to get a law in place before that happened. Answering questions from a resident, he described the law as a “good start.”

“It’s not perfect,” Mallery said. “It’s a living document. It’s a base that tells companies wanting to install these types of facilities in the town ‘Hey, you can’t just come in here and do whatever you want.’ We could put all this together and the state might change its law next month, but at least we can tell the people of Cobleskill we’ve done our due diligence.”

Rubin added “a lot will get added to it,” referring to the new law.

Angell said one of the provisions in the new law spells out that companies must disassemble and take away solar and wind equipment within a certain amount of time if such facilities become no longer operable.

“I think it’s for the betterment of the community,” she said. “They can’t just let these panels and other things just sit there and sit there (if they are no longer being used). It’s one of the things this law will protect against.”

In other news from the May 13 meeting, the town board approved May 30 as Grievance Day for the town this year. Grievance Day is the deadline for property owners to file appeals of their assessments and also the day for local boards of assessment review to hear complaints.

Also approved was a letter to Empire State Development in support of the redevelopment of vacant land at Shad Point. That’s the area just off Route 145 near Route 7 and Interstate 88 near the Gobbler’s Knob recreational facility.

The board also green-lighted two measures for the town’s Doc Reilly Park on Route 7 near Cavern Palace. The first allows installation of a seasonal/temporary shed by a co-ed adult softball team.

“The group will pay insurance and be responsible for maintenance,” Mallery said.

The second measure authorizes town officials to start negotiating an agreement with a traveling youth softball team that wants to make Doc Reilly Park its home field. Among the provisions to eventually be included in the agreement are obligations the traveling team would have regarding the maintenance of the field it uses. Town board members said they appreciated the potential “sweat equity” the team and its supporters could end up expanding at the park.