Carolyn Britt masccc 2013
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Carolyn Britt masccc 2013 Carolyn Britt masccc 2013 Presentation Transcript

  •                REVIEWING  SOLAR  INSTALLATIONS  IN    OUR  COMMUNITIES  Sustainable  Communi/es  and  Campuses  Conference  
  • Influencing  Solar  Development  through  Zoning  •  Develop  purposes  for  zoning  by-­‐law  that  direct  ac/ons  on  solar  installa/ons  •  Establish  zones  where  allowed  by-­‐right  •  Integrate  solar  into  all  key  sec5ons  of  by-­‐law  to  be  func/onal:  – Defini/ons  (solar  facili/es,  height  of  buildings,  etc)  – Exemp/on  from  building  height  restric/ons  – By  right  accessory  use  to  residen/al,  ins/tu/onal,  or  commercial  
  • Review  of  Proposed  Development  • Use  of  special  permits  to  review  and  direct  solar  installa/ons  in  certain  loca/ons,  such  as  residen/al  zones  or  on  agricultural  or  forested  land  • Use  of  site  plan  review  to  control  appearance  and  features  without  ability  to  prohibit  • Integrate  solar  provisions  into  historical  review  • Integrate  solar  access  protec5on  from  development  on  abuGng  land    
  • Characteris=cs  of  Solar  Installa=ons  •  Can  be  installed  very  close  to  the  roof  •  Have  the  reflec/vity  value  of  gravel  •  Are  quiet  •  Can  be  low  to  the  ground  •  Can  be  considered  a  pervious  use,  par/cularly  in  flat  areas  •  Can  be  installed  in  a  way  to  not  disturb  the  soil  structure  •  Have  a  useful  life/me  of  15-­‐25  years  
  • Zoning  provisions  consistent  with  the  purposes  of  the  by-­‐law  •  Purpose  sec/on  of  zoning  delineates  the  reasons  for  zoning.  These  tradi/onally  include:  –   “provide  adequate  light  and  air”  –   “prevent  overcrowding  of  land”  –   “conserve  value  of  land  and  buildings…  prevent        blight”  –   Implement  the  master  plan  – Can  also  include  purposes  like  “to  support  the  development  of  photovoltaic  collec/on  systems”  and  “provide  access  to  solar  radia/on”    
  • How  Zoning  Conceptualizes  Solar  Installa=ons  •  Solar  installa/ons  can  be  roof-­‐mount  or  ground-­‐mount;  principal  or  accessory  use  •  Primary  sensi/vity  concerns  under  zoning  appear  to  be:    – Roof-­‐mounts  in  historic  districts  or  on  historic  buildings  – Ground-­‐mounts  in  most  loca/ons  as  accessory  uses  or  principal  uses,  in  visible  loca/ons,  par/cularly  in  residen/al  zones  – Ground-­‐mounts  on  agricultural  or  forested  lands  
  • Requiring  a  Special  Permit  (SP)  •  Can  use  special  permits  to  limit  loca/ons  and  provide  review  for  “problema/c”  uses  •  OZen  required  for  ground-­‐mounts  in  residen/al  loca/ons  or  visible  loca/ons  to  prohibit  or  regulate  use  (screening,  etc.)  •  Typical  findings  to  be  made  to  issue  a  SP:  – Use  is  in  harmony  with  general  purpose  of  by-­‐law;  – Public  benefit  – Appearance  not  detrimental  to  the  neighborhood  – No  nuisances  created  –  noise,  odors,  etc.  
  • Require  Site  Plan  Review  (SPR)  •  Decide  condi/ons  under  which  SPR  is  required  •  SPR  typically  requires:  surveyed  plan  with  topo  lines;  engineered  drawings  of  all  elements  of  the  installa/on;  loca/on  on  site;  impact  on  stormwater  and  contribu/on  to  impervious  surface;  screening;  and  more  •  For  larger  sites,  informa/on  on  site  topography  and  survey  is  not  available,  and  likely  not  necessary  •  SPR  requirements  may  be  excessive  for  most  projects  and  some  requirements  should  be  waived  
  • Princeton  University  –  largest  campus  collector  
  • Appalachian  State  University  –  roof  mount  on  new  residence  hall  
  • Solar  in  Historic  Districts/Proper=es  •  Goal  is  to  preserve  character-­‐defining  features  •  Review  on  new  construc/on  vs.  on  historic  proper/es  can  be  different  •  Secretary  of  the  Interior  standard  2-­‐retain  historic  character;  Secretary  of  the  Interior  standard  9  –  new  work  shall  not  destroy  key  historic  materials    •  Need  to  be  placed  on  roofing  less  than  2  years  old  •  Minimize  visibility  •  Restrict  only  on  roof  with  historic  roofing  material,  such  as  a  slate  roof,  or  when  significant  diminu/on  of  appearance  
  • Barely  visible  from  most  angles  
  • Guilford  College  –  installa=on  on  an  historic  campus  building  
  • Solar  at  Agricultural  Sites  •  General  characteris/cs  of  solar  on  farms:  – Larger    systems  (between  50  and  200kw)  – May  require  SPR  or  SP  due  to  size  alone  – Likely  ground  mounts,  although  can  be  roof  mounts  – Area  is  likely  not  shown  on  a  surveyed  plan,  or  near  survey  points  – Can  use  foo/ngs  or  ballast  to  minimize  disturbance  of  farmland  
  • Solar  Access  –  the  big  picture  •  Two  issues    -­‐  solar  rights  and  solar  easements  •  Interpreta/on  of  US  law  is  that  there  is  no  common  law  access  to  sunlight,  so  this  needs  to  be  included  in  state  law.  MA  state  law  provides  right  to  locate  a  collector  despite  prohibi/ons  in  condo  or  home-­‐owner  associa/on  documents  •  State  laws  are  also  required  to  have  access  to  easements  over  abuGng  land  that  might  be  altered  to  block  access  to  sunlight  (easement)  •  Massachuseds  considered  to  have  one  of  the  best  models  for  state  laws  protec/ng  rights  and  easements,  but  these  have  not  been  integrated  at  the  local  level  
  • Solar  Access  •  Chapter  40A,  Sec/on  9B  –  “Zoning  ordinances  or  by-­‐laws  may  encourage  use  of  solar  energy  systems  and  protect  solar  access  by  regula/on  of  the  orienta/on  of  streets,  lots  and  buildings,  maximum  building  height  limits,  minimum  building  set  back  requirements,  limita/ons  on  the  type,  height  and  placement  of  vegeta/on  and  other  provisions”  –   “Solar  energy  systems  may  be  exempted  from  set  back,  building  height,  and  roof  and  lot  coverage  restric/ons”  –  “may  provide  that  such  solar  access  permits  would  create  an  easement  to  sunlight  over  neighboring  property”    
  • •  “may  also  specify  what  cons/tutes  an  impermissible  interference  with  the  right  to  direct  sunlight  granted  by  a  solar  access  permit  and  how  to  regulate  growing  vegeta/on  that  may  interfere  with  such  right”  •  “may  provide  standards  for  the  issuance  of  solar  access  permits  balancing  the  need  of  solar  energy  systems  for  direct  sunlight  with  the  right  of  neighboring  property  owners  to  the  reasonable  use  of  their  property…”  •  “may  also  provide  a  process  for  issuance  of  solar  access  permits  including,  but  not  limited  to,  no/fica/on  of  affected  neighboring  property  owners,  opportunity  for  a  hearing,  appeal  process  and  recorda/on  of  such  permits  on  burdened  and  benefited  property  deeds”  
  • •  Allows  the  crea/on  of  solar  access  permits  that  create  a  regulatory  easement  over  the  land  of  abuders  to  a  solar  energy  system  requiring  that  new  vegeta/on  be  avoided  or  pruned  to  assure  solar  access  to  the  solar  energy  system.    •  The  sec/on  went  on  to  suggest  municipali/es  could  create  solar  maps  showing  lots  burdened  by  solar  easements.  
  • Other  Legal  Support  for  Solar  Easements  •  Chapter  184,  Sec/on  23C  –  any  provisions  prohibi/ng  solar  installa/ons  in  a  deed  are  void  •  Chapter  187,  Sec/on  1A,  Solar  Easements  – “Any  easement  of  direct  sunlight  may  be  acquired  over  the  land  of  another  by  express  grant  or  covenant,  or  by  a  solar  access  permit  as  set  forth  in  sec/on  nine  B  of  chapter  forty  A  – Sets  out  the  important  provisions  to  include  when  preparing  a  solar  easement  
  • Provisions  in  Beverly  Zoning  •   “When  a  solar  energy  collec/on  system  is  installed  on  a  lot,  accessory  structures  or  vegeta/on  on  an  abuGng  lot  shall  not  be  located  as  to  block  the  solar  collector’s  access  to  solar  energy.”  •  Protects  from  shading  between  9am  and  3pm  •  Protects  area  of  collector  no  greater  than  50%  of  heated  floor  area  of  structure  •  Applies  to  accessory  structures  and  plan/ngs  installed  aZer  installa/on  of  the  solar  structure  •  Creates  a  system  to  file  with  the  City  Clerk  showing  date  of  installa/on  and  descrip/on  of  the  site    
  • Op=ons  •  State  model  provides  op/ons.  These  and  other  by-­‐laws  that  can  act  as  models  can  include:  –  Allow  by-­‐right  in  most  cases  –  Require  special  permits  only  in  those  cases  where  the  installa/on  characteris/cs  are  most  sensi/ve  –  Don’t  require,  or  simplify,  site  plan  review  for  most  installa/ons,  or  require  only  for  the  largest    or  most  visible  installa/ons  –  Allow  flexibility  in  historic  districts  to  truly  consider  the  appearance;  don’t  restrict  on  new  construc/on  –  Require  installa/on  that  does  not  disturb  the  soil  structure  on  farmland,  but  don’t  prohibit  it  
  • Resources  • www.planning.org/research/solar  (series  of  briefing  papers)  • Massachuseds  General  Laws  MGL,  Chapter  184  (General  Provisions  Rela/ve  to  Real  Property),  Sec/on  23C  (Solar  Energy  Systems)  • MGL  Chapter  187  (Easements),  Sec/on  1A  (Solar  Easements)  • ITS  No.52:  Incorpora/ng  Solar  Panels  in  a  Rehabilita/on  Project.  Na/onal  Park  Service.  US  Dept.  of  the  Interior.  August  2009.  • Developing  Design  Guidelines  for  Solar  Panels.  News  from  the  Na/onal  Alliance  of  Preserva/on  Commissions.  9-­‐10,  2009  • Installing  Solar  Panels  on  Historic  Buildings.  North  Carolina  Solar  Center  • A  Comprehensive  Review  of  Solar  Access  law  in  the  United  States.Solar  America  Board  for  Codes  and  Stands.  www.solarbcs.org  • MA  Dept.  of  Agricultural  Resources.  hdp://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/about/divisions/energy-­‐efficiency-­‐conserva/on-­‐renewables-­‐program-­‐generic.html    
  • Carolyn  Brid,  AICP  Community  Investment  Associates  cbrid@communityinvestment.net  (978)  356-­‐2164