This letter was in response to the story in the Jan-Feb issue, Warwick Village: solar panels dont jibe with historic district.
To the editor, The article in the most recent News and Views section of Dirt Magazine about the Village of Warwick looking to create guidelines for solar panels within our historic district was discouraging. It is misleading to say Warwick Village may not want to see solar panels in front yards, side yards, front roofs, walls, or anywhere, really.
The Village of Warwick has been pioneering green efforts long before it became cool, or warm, for that matter. Warwick Farmers Market was established through a partnership between the Chamber of Commerce and the village. It was the first market of its kind in the Hudson Valley. The village has also partnered with the town to create an annexation policy to ensure new development helps pay the cost of infrastructure and watershed protection. The village has been a vocal advocate of the towns purchase of development rights program. Over the past ten years farms surrounding the village have been protected creating a green belt. This helps to protect the rural setting of the village and promotes agriculture. The village recognizes the importance of historic preservation as a vital part of sustainability as well as creating and supporting a vibrant downtown and walkable community. To date weve added over 30 acres of parkland since 2000.
Recently, solar paneled historic street lights were installed in the South Street parking lot. This is in addition to the electric charging station that was installed this summer. We are finishing a year-long study of the Wawayanda stream to define a strategy of revitalization to reestablish native plant species and animal habitat. This is the stream corridor that runs through the center of the village.
For the village to discuss an issue that may affect the visual context of a Federal and State recognized historic district is appropriate. To create the impression that we will create guidelines that will be overly restrictive is a presumption that doesnt correspond with our commitment or any of our previous efforts.
Sincerely, Mayor Michael Newhard
Update: Warwick Village is forming a committee to chew on the issue of solar panels in the historic district. It will be made up of a member of the architectural review board, a member of the planning board, local solar installer Patrick Gallagher, and homeowners with solar panels.