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Throwing shade: CB 15 slams city proposal to put solar panels in Manhattan Beach parking lot

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Manhattan Beachers told the city to stick those solar panels where the sun don’t shine!

Community Board 15 threw shade on a plan by the city to place solar panels in the Manhattan Beach parking lot, arguing that the canopy would be a blight on the tranquil, seaside neighborhood.

“Open space is a rare and precious commodity in New York City,” said board member Samantha Cierra at the Feb. 27 meeting. “There is no way this structure will not be an intrusion on nature and a contradiction to the purpose of providing green space and parks open to all people.”

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services said the city is working with the state New York Power Authority to identify parking lots across the city where solar canopies can be installed, and that the lot at Manhattan Beach is one of the options being considered, according to a department spokeswoman. Solar canopies are roof-like structures on posts that have solar panels on them.

CB 15 chairwoman Theresa Scavo said she contacted the Parks Department after hearing rumors about the plans, and that the department told her the solar canopy would be a 19-foot structure that would not block the sight line.

But the panels discussed at the CB 15 meeting were from a conceptual study, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, who said there is currently no exact design for the structures.

“The city is in the earliest stages of planning,” said the spokeswoman. “No design has been created yet or formalized.”

Several residents addressed the board to voice their opposition to the solar panels. One called the proposed structure an “eyesore,” and said it would be better placed elsewhere, away from the corrosive sea air.

“We love solar, but it should be on roofs,” said Louise Albenda. “And these may need maintenance being so close to the salt water.”

Scavo added that the canopy could become a magnet for loiterers and people up to no good.

“It gives a location for shelter. It opens the door to more problems,” she said. “People looking to hangout, it gives them a roof.”

The board then voted unanimously at the meeting to write a letter to the city stating its opposition to the project.

CB15 sent the letter to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services on March 2, according to Scavo.

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services had not received the letter as of March 2, but said the community board’s views will be included in the feedback it seeks from people in the area after showing them a design, said the department spokeswoman.

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at alucente@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019: Context added.
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