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Brighton eyes solar law


More solar power systems in Brighton would mean that residents and businesses could get clean, low-cost power while lessening the town's environmental footprint, officials say.

That's why town leaders have developed a draft solar ordinance. Solar panels are allowed in Brighton, says town planner Ramsey Boehner, but that's not specifically stated in the town code.

That means that someone could argue that the code doesn't actually allow the panels, he says.

"We need to make a definitive statement that they are allowed in the Town of Brighton," Boehner says.

There's another practical reason for the ordinance: to tell property owners who want to install solar panels what the town government expects of them. Like other exterior improvements, solar power systems require building permits from the town.

Under the ordinance, panels would be allowed on buildings' roofs. If the structure is a historical landmark, the owner would have to get approval from the town's Historic Preservation Commission.

Most buildings in the town would need approval from the Architectural Review Board before installing panels. But single- and two-family homes would only need approval if the panels would be visible from the road.

The town's Planning Board is currently reviewing the proposed ordinance. It'll issue a report to the Town Board, which ultimately makes the decision on the proposal.

A handful of Brighton houses and businesses have solar panels, Boehner says, and there haven't been any problems.

"Most people do this very tastefully," he says.