(Proposed) SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS ORDINANCE ——- As approved by the Planning Commission on 17 April, 2018

 

THE TOWNSHIP OF CLAYBANKS ORDAINS:

 

SECTION 1: PURPOSE

Intent and Purpose: To promote the use of Solar Energy within Claybanks Township as a clean alternative energy source. Also to provide for the land development, installation and construction regulations for large photovoltaic solar farm facilities subject to reasonable conditions that will protect the public health, safety and welfare. These regulations establish minimum requirements and standards for the placement, construction and modification of large photovoltaic solar farm facilities, while promoting a renewable energy source for our community in a safe, effective and efficient manner.

 

SECTION 2: APPLICABILITY

This ordinance applies to all solar energy installations within the Township of Claybanks.

 

SECTION 3: SEVERABILITY

Should any portion of this ordinance be declared unconstitutional or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected.

 

SECTION 4: DEFINITIONS:

  1. Solar Panel: A panel designed to absorb the sun’s rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heating.
  2. Solar Energy System: One or more solar panels and all the associated equipment involved in the conversion of solar energy to electrical energy primarily for residential, agricultural or commercial use.
  3. Solar Farm: An area of land designated for the purpose of producing photovoltaic electricity. The power generated is sold to electric companies for distribution throughout the power grid.

 

SECTION 5: ALLOWABLE ZONING DISTRICTS

  1. Solar energy systems designed primarily to supply electric energy for the landowners use and has a footprint not exceeding one half (1/2) acre are allowed in all zoning districts. A zoning permit is required.
  2. Solar farms shall be allowed in the Agricultural Preservation and the Rural Preservation Districts. A special use permit is required.

 

SECTION 6: SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

  1. Setback provisions for each applicable zone shall apply to solar energy systems.
  2. No solar energy system not physically attached to a building shall be located forward of the front elevation of the residence, except that for lots fronting on Lake Michigan, no solar energy system not physically attached to a building shall be located closer to the lake than the elevation of the side of the dwelling facing on the lake.

 

  1. Solar energy panels, regardless of how they are mounted, shall be oriented and/or screened year-round so that glare is not directed toward neighbors or streets.

 

SECTION 7: SOLAR FARM DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN STANDARDS.

  1. Minimum Lot Size: Photovoltaic solar farm facilities shall not be constructed on parcels less than twenty (20) acres in size.
  2. Height Restrictions: All photovoltaic panels located in a solar farm shall be restricted to a height of fourteen (14) feet.
  3. Setbacks: All photovoltaic solar panels and support structures associated with such facilities (excluding perimeter security fencing) shall be a minimum of ten (10) feet from a side or rear property line and a minimum of twenty (20) feet from any road or highway right-of-way.
  4. Maximum Lot Coverage: Maximum lot coverage restrictions shall not apply to photovoltaic solar panels. Any other regulated structures on the parcel are subject to maximum lot coverage restrictions.
  5. Safety/Access: A locked security fence (height and material to be established through the special use permit process) shall be placed around the perimeter of the solar farm.
  6. Screening: as part of the special use permit application the applicant must provide a detailed screening plan to shield adjacent property and streets from glare.

 

Section 8: SPECIAL USE PERMIT REQUIREMENTS

  1. Project description and rationale: Identify the type, size, rated power output, performance, safety and noise characteristics of the system, including the name and address of the manufacturer, and model. Identify time frame, project life, development phases, likely markets for the generated energy, and possible future expansions;
  2. Visual impacts: Review and demonstrate the visual impact using photos or renditions of the project or similar projects with consideration given to tree plantings and setback requirements;
  3. Lighting: Provide lighting plans showing all lighting within the facility. No light may adversely affect adjacent parcels.
  4. Public safety: Identify emergency and normal shutdown procedures. Identify potential hazards to adjacent properties, public roadways, and to the community in general that may be created;
  5. Sound limitations and review: Identify noise levels at the property line of the project boundary when completed.
  6. Life of the project and final reclamation: Describe the decommissioning and final land reclamation plan after anticipated useful life or abandonment or termination of the project, including evidence of an agreement with the property owner that ensures proper final removal of power generating equipment within twelve (12) months of decommissioning.
  7. Drainage: Define the ground cover and how any potential drainage issues would be mitigated.

 

SECTION 9 EFFECTIVE DATE.

This ordinance shall take effect upon publication following its adoption.