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Suffolk legislator wants six-month moratorium on Brookhaven solar projects

Suffolk County legislator (6th district) Sarah Anker shown

Suffolk County legislator (6th district) Sarah Anker shown on May 20, 2013. Photo Credit: James Escher

Suffolk Legis. Sarah Anker called Monday for a six-month moratorium on large-scale solar projects in Brookhaven to halt a Shoreham sod farm proposal and future solar energy plans.

Anker (D-Mt. Sinai) and other opponents said approval of the planned 60-acre solar farm moved too quickly and didn't include enough public input.

"Residents need a chance to catch their breath and get a chance to participate in the process," Anker said at a Shoreham news conference in the residential area next to the sod farm. She said solar projects should be better sited in light industrial areas or rooftops.

Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine dismissed the idea of a moratorium. Instead, he said the town in January will consider a new code, which would give the town board more control over future solar proposals.

Romaine noted that two years ago when it was making land use changes, the town discussed the possibility that the sod farm would be turned into a solar farm in the future.

LIPA trustees earlier this month authorized officials to pursue 11 solar arrays on large land parcels, including a number in Brookhaven.

The Shoreham sod farm project calls for solar panels 10 feet off the ground on 60 acres. Opponents have sued to block the 9.5-megawatt project. A spokeswoman for the developer, Salt Lake City-based sPower, said it was committed to being a "low-profile responsible neighbor."

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