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Granville Zoning panel fields comments for solar panels

Granville Zoning panel fields comments for solar panels

GRANVILLE — New zoning rules regarding residential solar energy installations should be flexible enough to accommodate future trends in the industry, Granville Township Zoning Commission officials were told last week.

During a public comment session that invited comment on adding solar energy language to the zoning code, speakers advised that residential roof- or ground-mounted systems should be allowed to have capacities of more than 10 kilowatts for electricity.

Commission members also agreed to ask Denison University to submit a proposal for language regarding solar energy principal production facilities, since the college is interested in building one within the township just west of Ohio 661 north of the Village of Granville. That proposal could then be tweaked by commission members, said commission chair Rob Schaadt.

There were no objections to adding solar-related language to the code.

The solar zoning proposals, when finalized, will be incorporated into text amendment proposal that requires a formal public hearing, review by the Licking County Planning Commission and approval by the Granville Township Trustees, Schaadt said.

Proposed for the zoning code going into the Sept. 19 commission meeting were roof- and ground-mounted systems as permitted uses in the AG (agricultural), Residential, Continuing Care Retirement Community, Professional Research, General Business and Light Manufacturing districts.

Roof-mounted solar panels on pitched or flat roofs would be conditional uses in Conservation districts, but ground-mounted units would not be allowed in that district, according to the proposal.

Solar Energy-Principal Production facilities such as that sought by Denison would be a conditional use in AG, Continuing Care Retirement Community, Professional Research, General Business and Light Manufacturing districts, but not allowed in Conservation or Residential districts, the proposal says.

Richard Downs, a Granville area solar energy consultant and Jeremy King, sustainability coordinator at Denison, complimented the Commission for pursuing the issue, and suggested that a 10-kilowatt capacity is too small.

Norm Kennedy, a Hankinson Road resident, also endorse a higher kilowatt number.

“Right now we’re running about nine,” he said of his own home with two occupants. “We were running 12 with three people in the house. I would encourage you to look at a higher number. I think there needs to be flexibility.”

King added that the language should be carefully worded as to not restrict roof mounts, which are allowed now even though they’re not mentioned in the code.

“I would like to make sure there’s a variance procedure for all sorts of individual circumstances,” Downs added.

Ken Apacki, a solar energy proponent, added that panels should not be restricted to ground or roof mounts, pointing out a home in McKean Township where they’re installed as window awnings.

“There’s a lot of combinations on what you mean by mounted,” he said.

Tom Evans, who installed panels on his garage in the village next to the Old Colony Burying Ground, said the industry will change considerably in years to come.

“The lifetime of a system is 25 or 30 years,” he said. “I urge you to err on the side of letting people do their experiments.”

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Source: Granville Sentinel

By: Charles A. Peterson, Reporter 12:05 a.m. EDT September 30, 2015

LINK: http://www.newarkadvocate.com/story/news/local/granville/2015/09/30/granville-township-zoning-commission-solar-energy/73025298/

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