Goshen board wants more guidance on solar energy requests
Posted: 06/26/2012 at 8:14 pm
By: Justin Leighty
“Once you start seeing a trend of stuff coming to the BZA, it’s something to look at,” said Kelly Huffman, a board member.
The board took the recommendation of Richard Miller, who lives near an existing solar installation. “I think the staff and you as commissioners will have more and more applications, and I would hope that you could spend some time and really do some planning on what and how the zoning ordinance should affect it,” Miller said.
The board approved a request by Miller’s nearby neighbor, Joy Hess, to expand the existing solar panels at her home on Carter Road.
The board denied requests by residents on 14th Street and Ryegrass Court because of the city’s zoning ordinance. Those residents can still install solar panels on roofs, just not as free-standing units. The city’s zoning ordinance treats such units the same as a detached garage or a shed, limiting the total size on any residential lot of “accessory structures” to no more than the size of the ground floor of a home.
The board asked the city staff and the city’s plan commission to look at the solar issue and see if, perhaps, the city council should change the zoning code to treat solar panels differently.
Jim Kolbus, the board’s attorney, said, “I think these are going to be coming more and more to the board.”
The only other major item on the board’s agenda Tuesday afternoon was to find out why Old Bag Factory owner James Rupright hasn’t complied with the board’s requirements for using the space across Chicago Avenue from the retail center as a parking lot.
Rupright told the commission that the process cost him $12,000 more than he expected.
Board chairman Ardean Friesen said, “I think what’s happening at the Old Bag Factory is a great thing and I want it to continue,” but said he’s concerned about safety with cars parked blocking the views of the intersection with North Indiana Avenue.
The board gave Rupright until August to start installing a sidewalk and curb to mark off the parking area and increase safety.