Wednesday, March 3, 2021

City Plans to Amend Zoning Ordinance for Solar Systems

As the efficiency of solar systems improves and become more affordable, the popularity of installing them on residential and commercial structures continues to increase.

With more citizens and businesses exploring solar energy systems as an option to offset rising energy costs, the City will be considering an amendment of its Zoning Ordinance to expedite the permitting process time by allowing administrative or staff approval for some solar panel applications.

Currently, the City requires that a Specific Use Permit be approved by City Council following a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission prior to the installation of any solar energy system.

Specific Use Permit applications are considered for approval by the City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission at their regular meetings and these permits typically take two to three months to process.

Because of the expected increase in demand for energy systems, the City staff has developed proposed regulations that would allow the administrative approval of solar energy systems less than 600 square feet in size (cumulative) and not visible from the street.

The proposed regulations would also allow the administrative approval of energy systems on flat roof accessory structures such as patios or gazebos.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed regulations at its Thursday, January 21 meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall in City Council Chambers.

The City Council will consider the zoning amendments at its February 2 and February 16 (public hearing) meetings.

If you have any further questions about the potential zoning amendment for solar energy systems or would like to review the proposed regulations, please visit the Planning and Development Services website.