ORDINANCE NO. 301
AN ORDINANCE REPEALING A PORTION OF THE LESTER PRAIRIE MUNICIPAL CODE, SPECIFICALLY SECTION 5.10 REGARDING SOLAR ENERGY MORATORIUM AND ESTABLISHING SOLAR ENERGY EQUIPMENT AS AN ACCESSORY USE WITHIN THE CITY OF LESTER PRAIRIE AND CONTINUING WIND ENERGY MORATORIUM
THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LESTER PRAIRIE ORDAINS:
SECTION 1: 5.11 SOLAR ENERGY EQUIPMENT
5.11.1 Purposes: The purpose of this Section is to provide standards for the use of solar energy equipment as an accessory use within the City of Lester Prairie. This Section seeks to protect properties from incompatible uses and to conserve and enhance property values, while promoting the use of alternative energy sources, where appropriate. This Section provides a process to facilitate the use of solar power in a manner that minimizes visual impacts of solar energy equipment and the potential for nuisance.
5.11.2 Definition: Solar energy equipment is defined as a solar photovoltaic panel, solar hot air or hot water panel collector device, or other type of energy system which relies upon solar radiation as a source for the generation of electricity or transfer of stored heat.
5.11.3 Accessory Use: Solar energy equipment shall be permitted as an accessory use in any zoning district upon recommendation from the Planning Commission.
A. Exclusions from zoning permit requirement.
1. The installation of one (1) solar panel with a total area of less than eight (8) square feet.
2. Repair and replacement of existing solar energy equipment, provided that there is no expansion of the size or coverage area of the solar energy equipment.
5.11.4 Application for Permit: An applicant who seeks to install solar energy equipment shall submit an application for a building permit, as provided by the City of Lester Prairie. The permit application shall include photographs of the existing conditions of the property as well as renderings of the proposed solar energy equipment and a description of the screening to be provided for ground or wall mounted solar energy equipment.
5.11.5 Review of Application:
A. Upon receipt of a completed application for the installation of solar equipment, the Lester Prairie Planning Commission will review the application and recommend approval of the solar energy equipment or recommend alternatives to the applicant at the next scheduled Planning Commission meeting.
B. If the Planning Commission recommends approval of a permit application, the City Council shall review the application. If the City Council approves the application, it shall be forwarded to the Building Official for review and issuance of a building or other appropriate permit for the work if the application complies with the requirements of this Section. If the Planning Commission recommends alternatives to the applicant, no permit shall be issued until the applicant formally acknowledges that he or she has received the recommendations of the Planning Commission.
5.11.6 Criteria for the use of solar energy equipment:
1. Solar energy equipment shall be located in the least visibly obtrusive location where panels would be functional.
2. Solar energy equipment must comply with all setback and height requirements for the zoning district in which the property is located.
3. Non-functioning solar energy equipment shall be repaired or replaced within three (3) months of becoming nonfunctional.
B. Ground-mounted solar energy equipment.
1. Solar energy equipment shall only be located in the side or rear yard of a property.
2. Ground mounted solar energy equipment may not exceed a height of ten (10) feet in height at highest point above the ground.
3. Solar energy equipment should be substantially screened from public view (including adjacent properties and public rights of way) by fencing, plantings, or a combination thereof, as determined by the Planning Commission.
4. All exterior electrical and/or plumbing lines must be placed in a conduit and buried below the surface of the ground.
5. Solar energy equipment shall not block any required parking areas, sidewalks or walkways.
C. Roof or wall-mounted solar energy equipment.
1. It is encouraged that roof-mounted solar energy equipment shall be installed parallel with the roof (flush mounted) or made a part of the roof design (capping or framing is compatible with the color of the roof or structure). Mounting brackets will be required, no matter the offset to the roof. Solar energy equipment shall be located on a rear or side facing roof, as seen from the fronting street, unless the applicant can demonstrate that such installation would be ineffective or is impossible.
2. Solar energy equipment shall not project vertically above the peak of the roof to which it is attached, or project vertically more than five (5) feet above a flat roof.
3. All exterior electrical and/or plumbing lines should be painted in a color scheme that matches as closely as reasonably possible the color of the structure and the materials adjacent to the lines.
SECTION 2: WIND ENERGY MORATORIUM
In all other respects, the remaining provisions of Chapter 5.10, Wind Energy Moratorium, shall remain unchanged and continue in full force and effect unless specifically modified or superceded herein.
SECTION 3: SEVERABILITY
If any sentence, clause, section or other part of this ordinance is, for any reason, found to be unconstitutional, illegal or invalid, such unconstitutionality, illegality or invalidity shall not effect or impair any remaining provisions, sentences, clauses, sections or other parts of this ordinance. It is hereby declared as the intent of the City of Lester Prairie that this ordinance would have been adopted had such unconstitutional, illegal or invalid sentence, clause, section or part thereof not been included herein.
SECTION 4: This Ordinance shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage and publication.
Adopted by the City Council this 11th day of December, 2012.
CITY OF LESTER PRAIRIE:
By /s/ Andrew Heimerl, Its Mayor
By /s/ Marilyn Pawelk, Its City Clerk
Published in the Herald Journal Dec. 17, 2012