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Monday, September 26, 2011

Are Tom Gentz' Solar Panels Illegal?

Quick and decisive answer from Charlestown's Building Official
By Will Collette

After being told by Town Administrator Bill DiLibero that all forms of alternative energy installations are not a permitted use in Charlestown, I followed Mr. DiLibero's suggestion to get a more definitive answer from Charlestown's Housing Official Joe Warner.

I wanted to know generally about where alternative energy stands in the town's eyes and specifically whether the solar panels on Town Council President Tom Gentz's house were legal.

I received this reply:

So, I take away several lessons from this. (1) a permitted use is what the Town Building Official says it is. (2) It helps if you have whatever it is built into the original house. (3) Whatever it is, put it on the roof.

And we sorely need that conversation in this town about the all-encompassing reach of the town's power into our daily lives. Now.

In my opinion, the Platner Principle - all is prohibited unless it is permitted - is unjust, intrusive and subject to selective enforcement and abuse. Instead, I offer the Collette Codicil - all is permitted unless it is prohibied (and then, only for a damn good reason).