The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Op-ed column: Backward in Ballston

Neighbors and town were wrong to oppose poles for solar panels

Forest Byrd/For The Sunday Gazette
Forest Byrd/For The Sunday Gazette
Text Size: A | A

To most of the homeowners in Seelye Estates West in the town of Ballston, the most important property right is the right to maintain the value of their property, even if it means telling their neighbors what they can or cannot do with their property. So when Brian and Christa Haines installed solar panels on 14-foot poles in their yard, 30 of their neighbors did the neighborly thing and sued them in State Supreme Court ...

You Must or Subscribe to Continue
subscribe to the Daily Gazette
Individual stories can be found and purchased from our Archives for $2.00

Enjoy this story? Share it!



September 23, 2012
8:07 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Dan, when this first became a story, I drove over there in my SUV and took a look. You should too. I know it's a SEM(someone else's neighborhood), but I feel the immediate neighbors have a legitimate beef. These are monstrosities that block the sun from shining on their properties. These people bought their houses with deed restrictions with the understanding that they would live in a neighborhood with a certain character. The Haines' violated the spirit of those restrictions at everyone else's expense.

Even though you and I are not affected directly by living in that neighborhood, we are directly affected by all these solar installations. We pay for them! Typically in NY, 2/3 of the cost of the installation is paid for by us taxpayers in the way of NYSERDA rebates and Federal and State tax credits(not exemptions...but actual credits). None of these installations make economic sense if the homeowner had to pay the full cost. Solar has many, many, many years of these rebates and credits in order to "kickstart" the industry. It is time to cut the apron strings and stop making the rest us pay for the few.

September 23, 2012
8:18 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

While you visited the neighborhood via Google Earth, I recently had reason to personally visit that neighborhood. I can attest to your observation that it is a typical suburban upstate NY development of bland, cookie cutter, vinyl coated, pretty much all look the same houses that some folks there must consider beautiful estates that solar panels would destroy their bland, cookie cutter, vinyl coated neighborhood. Makes you wonder what their town board ruled in the past when inventions and technology started to become available and people actually wanted to use.

September 24, 2012
6:03 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

@ronzo - we probably would not have utility poles!

I also drove in there and asked myself, "what's the problem" as well. (My car is very rusty; I probably would not be allowed to live there, so my opinion doesn't matter.)