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Ghent adopts state’s permit for solar panels


GHENT–The Town Board adopted the state’s new Unified Solar Permit Form last week, making the town eligible to receive $2,500 in funding from the state. The unified solar permit, part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative, is intended to create a standardized solar energy system permitting process across the state. The permit was developed from collaboration between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York Power Authority (NYPA) and City University of New York (CUNY).

According to a NYSERDA press release dated September 20, the standardized solar permit helps municipalities “remove barriers to local economic development in the growing solar industry” and is expected to “cut costs by creating a uniform permitting process in municipalities across the state.”

The funding municipalities can receive for adopting the permit process is made available by NYSERDA’s Cleaner, Greener Communities program. The amount each municipality is eligible for ranges from $2,500 to $5,000, depending on population.

“This permit is actually already in line with what the town is doing,” Town Attorney Ted Guterman told the board at the December 19 meeting.

The board voted unanimously to approve the resolution and adopt the unified solar permit. Member Linda Hess was present via the web through a Skype video and audio link.

Also at the meeting:

Town resident Al Wassenhove announced that he is resigning from the town Board of Ethics effective December 31. In a letter addressed to Acting Supervisor Larry Van Brunt, Mr. Wassenhove, the senior member of the board, wrote that his resignation “is purely voluntary and tendered without coercion to afford the new administration [the opportunity] to appoint someone they may feel more comfortable working with.”

Mr. Wassenhove thanked Mr. Van Brunt for his years of service to the Town of Ghent. Mr. Van Brunt has served 12 years on the Town Board, including the last six months as acting town supervisor. He lost his bid for reelection to the board.

“I have personally met very few public officials that are so well restrained, composed, methodical and deliberate,” said Mr. Wassenhove. “Ghent is a better place because of you.”

Highway Superintendent Mike Losa thanked the board for working closely with him during his tenure. After 12 years, he decided to retire, paving the way for Ben Perry, elected in November, to take over as highway superintendent January 1.

Mr. Losa spoke fondly of the time and discussions he shared with late town Supervisor Larry Andrews. “I wish Larry was here so I could personally thank him again,” he said.

Mr. Losa also thanked Mr. Guterman for his help as well as his friendship. “Twelve years ago, I knew Ted Guterman as the town lawyer,” said Mr. Losa with a laugh. “Twelve years later, I’m glad to let everyone know he’s a friend.”

The Town Board will hold a year-end meeting December 30 at 7 p.m. at Ghent Town Hall. The town’s 2014 organizational meeting is scheduled for January 9 at 7 p.m.


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