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Lynbrook resident upset after review board denies solar panels


Lynbrook resident Michael Franklin said he was disappointed with the village’s Architectural Review Board because it didn’t approve his request to put solar panels on the front of his house in March.

Franklin said he put hours of research into putting the panels on the roof of his home on Sherman Street in the hope of going green, but was informed that they had to be in the rear of his home, not the front. He said four of his neighbors have front-facing solar panels and the majority of sunlight hits the front of his home, so it wouldn’t be cost efficient to install them in the rear.

“When I go through a town that has solar panels anywhere, I think it’s very aesthetically pleasing because you can see that the town cares about the environment and isn’t burning oil,” Franklin said. “It wouldn’t be worth putting them on the back and spending all this money. It would never produce enough energy to make me not use gas.”

Franklin added that he was disappointed that the board didn’t tell him about their decision and he had to read it in the meeting minutes.

John Ferrante, the chairman of the Architectural Review Board, said the request wasn’t denied, but was adjourned until Franklin provides new renderings.

“It is common for the applicant and solar company representative to return with additional and/or new information for an application,” he said. “To date, the applicant and contractor has not returned to a meeting formally or informally to re-visit the project. We certainly encourage them to do so.”

He added that south-facing roofs are the most efficient for solar work, but not the only viable option, and said many solar companies have provided new renderings for a project to meet the needs of the applicant while also maintaining the beauty of the home. Ferrante noted that the board’s purpose is to solely address aesthetics to maintain the beauty of the community.

The board is comprised of appointed residents who meet twice a month. They adjourned Franklin’s application in March and discussed a letter Franklin wrote to them in protest of the decision in April, but he said he has heard nothing since then, and noted that Building Department Superintendent Brian Stanton was “very helpful” in explaining the board’s decision.

Franklin said he will wait a year and weigh his options before putting another application forth to the board, and that he could possibly appeal the decision.

“I’m frustrated most of all because with all the global warming and everything that’s going on, I want to try and save the environment for my children and grandchildren and their children,” Franklin said. “If everyone goes solar, we won’t be polluting the environment as much. To hear that because it doesn’t look good is why I’m not allowed to do this and contribute is crazy.”

Mayor Alan Beach said that while some homes were permitted to have solar panels on the front of their homes in the past, the board has started to deny them recently because of the aesthetics.

“There have been denials of other people,” he said. “They don’t like the way it looks in front of the house. I leave it up to the Architectural Review Board.”