Dansville presses pause on solar developments with moratorium

Village passes six-month moratorium on development of commercial solar farms as it crafts local law

Chris Potter
The Dansville Online

DANSVILLE — Solar power is out in the Village of Dansville, but potentially not for long. 

The Dansville Board of Trustees unanimously passed a six-month moratorium on the development of commercial solar farms in the Village of Dansville. The moratorium will provide the village time to create a local law governing solar development within its borders. 

Solar policy shot to the top of the village’s priority list this spring as Delaware River Solar proposed a solar farm in Dansville’s Industrial Park just north of the Dansville Central School. While the village presses pause on solar developments, the company’s pursuit of the project has also slowed — for the time being. 

“They’ve pulled their application at this time, but it’s not permanent,” said Dansville Mayor Peter Vogt. “They’re pulling it for now until the window opens up again for them.” 

The project would be the first solar farm within the village limits. The village currently has no laws on the books to address solar farms, but that will change soon as the village board drafts an official policy on the matter during the moratorium. Vogt would prefer the village pass its local law within three months so Dansville is prepared for the Delaware River Solar project or similar efforts by other companies in the village. 

“We just have to take a look at the whole situation to make sure the village is protected," said Vogt. "If the development goes under, we don’t want it sitting there falling into disrepair. We want to be able to salvage it. There should be a guarantee monies will be provided for that other than taxpayer money. That’s one of our concerns. We’re taking a look at a number of other laws to see what they’ve got and make sure we cover the full spectrum of concerns.” 

MORE: Is a solar farm on the horizon in Dansville? Village gathers facts

The Delaware River proposal covers around 30 acres on land owned by the Livingston County Industrial Development Agency. It is currently leased out by the IDA and utilized as cropland. A public hearing on the moratorium was held earlier this month. 

PETER VOGT

“Some people don’t want it in their backyard,” said Vogt. “There are a couple residents down there. The thing is, that place has been zoned for industrial use for three decades, at least. Just because nobody has taken advantage of it doesn’t mean that something wouldn’t eventually. 

“This is probably a better use than having a factory down there,” added the mayor. “The land can be reconverted into usable farmland or whatever else in the future if something happens to the solar development, or new technology comes along and doesn’t require as much area.” 

According to its website, Delaware River Solar built over 20 projects from 2018 through 2020 and is currently building dozens more throughout the NYSEG and RGE electric service territories in New York.

Chris Potter can be reached at cpotter@gannett.com or on Twitter @ChrisPotter413. To get unlimited access to the latest news, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.