Planning Commission considers solar panel regulations


TROY — Members of the Troy Planning Commission approved several proposed changes to the city’s regulations on residential solar panels during their regularly scheduled meeting held on Wednesday, June 28.

Commission members approved zoning code changes that would reduce the maximum height for ground-mounted solar panels to eight feet, from the current maximum of 20 feet, and limit solar panel coverage to 25 percent of a property’s rear yard.

Among other changes, roof-mounted solar panels that are facing the public right-of-way would also be required to be flush-mounted and “architecturally pleasant,” with wiring and other electronics hidden from view.

“For ground-mounted, we added a height requirement,” planning and zoning manager Austin Eidemiller said. “We also added an area requirement; you cannot place solar panels all over your back yard.”

“For roof-mounted, we really focused on adding provisions for if they are facing the public right-of way, making sure that they are flush-mounted and architecturally pleasant, and also the conduits and other electric that runs to it are properly hidden,” he said.

Solar panels would not be permitted on vacant lots, and any abandoned panels must be uninstalled within six months.

“They have to be an accessory to a permitted principal use,” Eidemiller said. So you can’t put them on a vacant lot.”

“If they are abandoned, they are required to remove them in six months,” he said.

“I’m a little concerned with the architecturally pleasant,” Troy Mayor Robin Oda said. “It doesn’t really define anything.”

Planning Commission members voted to approve the proposed changes; a recommendation will now be sent to city council.

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