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Flower Mound council to consider revised solar panel rules

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The Flower Mound Planning & Zoning Commissioners had a meeting of the minds during their June 23 meeting and passed revised guidelines for residential solar panels with a unanimous vote.

The May 12 Planning & Zoning Commission public meeting was to consider amending Land Development Regulation (LDR) 14-0002, by adding new Section 98-1002 on “Solar panel systems.” A staff presentation by Town Planner Chuck Russell outlined guidelines for size, height, location, roof setback, screening, installation, code compliance, maintenance and nuisance abatement.

Concerns were expressed after the staff presentation that the guidelines were too restrictive. The concerns included: setting limitations on the power generated by the systems; the minimum lot size for ground-mounted systems; that roof-mounted systems should be allowed on all sides of the building– not be prohibited from facing public streets—because south-facing systems are critical to the efficiency of roof-mounted systems; ground-mounted systems should not be limited to five-feet in height, but should be screened from neighboring properties; roof-mounted arrays follow town Fire Department code and the International Fire Code has specific regulations for setbacks from roof lines; and, the FAA and DFW Airport should be consulted and be given an opportunity to provide feedback on the standards.

The revised guidelines presented at the June 23 P&Z meeting had addressed the majority of the previous concerns.  

The standards for roof-mounted systems included: not project above the ridgeline of a pitched, gabled or gambrel roof and shall be parallel to the roofline; cover no more than 80 percent of the roof surface area; if on a flat roof it shall be screened; and, not exceed the maximum height permitted within the zoning district system it’s located.

Ground-mounted system standards included: not be located within the front yard; will comply with all zoning district setback and lot coverage requirements; will be screened from view by a wood privacy fence, masonry wall, enhanced landscaping or combination of these elements installed to a height equal to or greater than the highest point of the ground-mounted system; and, not be located in, on or across a public easement, unless authorized in writing by the easement holder.

Gone were roof-mounted panel setback specifics or not allowing street-facing panels, as were ground-mounted arrays minimum acreage limits or generated energy limitations. A height restriction of eight-feet for ground-mounted panels was added as part of the commissioner’s approval.

The solar panel amendment will be addressed at the July 21 Town Council meeting.

 

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