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Paint Township mulls ordinance regulating solar farm development

The Tribune-Democrat|David Hurst|October 11, 2022
PennsylvaniaZoning/PlanningPhotovoltaic Solar

Paint Township officials are considering an ordinance that would set guidelines for new solar power farm developments within the township’s boundaries. ...Communities cannot prohibit solar farms – and that’s not the intent, she added. Given that Paint Township doesn’t have zoning to guide development, the township would have no ability to review proposals or ensure concerns are considered without a related ordinance, Wright said.


WINDBER – Paint Township officials are considering an ordinance that would set guidelines for new solar power farm developments within the township’s boundaries.
 
While exact details are still being sorted out, the ordinance would require anyone planning to set up a solar facility to file an application with the township detailing their plans, township Solicitor Dennis Stofko said.
 
Setback restrictions would be added to protect waterways and adjacent property lines and roadways, he said.
 
It would also require a bond to ensure the projects are properly dismantled and removed when solar panels are no longer in use, Stofko said.
 
“The purpose is to ensure they are complying with industry standards ... and that (the projects are developed) in a uniform and consistent manner,” Stofko said.
 
He said guidelines would differ for larger farms built on land and those built on rooftops that might be for personal use.
 
Stofko said the ordinance is patterned ... more [truncated due to possible copyright]
     
WINDBER – Paint Township officials are considering an ordinance that would set guidelines for new solar power farm developments within the township’s boundaries.
 
While exact details are still being sorted out, the ordinance would require anyone planning to set up a solar facility to file an application with the township detailing their plans, township Solicitor Dennis Stofko said.
 
Setback restrictions would be added to protect waterways and adjacent property lines and roadways, he said.
 
It would also require a bond to ensure the projects are properly dismantled and removed when solar panels are no longer in use, Stofko said.
 
“The purpose is to ensure they are complying with industry standards ... and that (the projects are developed) in a uniform and consistent manner,” Stofko said.
 
He said guidelines would differ for larger farms built on land and those built on rooftops that might be for personal use.
 
Stofko said the ordinance is patterned after one developed in recent years by nearby Shade Township.
 
Paint Township supervisors plan to discuss the proposal at their Oct. 18 meeting, Supervisor Joanne Wright said.
 
She said one energy group contacted the township several years ago, signaling a potential interest in the possibility of building a solar farm. But the company ended up canceling the meeting and appears to have moved on, Wright said.
 
But the moment spurred township officials to explore options, she said.
 
The ordinance will be much like one developed years ago to oversee wind farm developments, she said.
 
Communities cannot prohibit solar farms – and that’s not the intent, she added.
 
Given that Paint Township doesn’t have zoning to guide development, the township would have no ability to review proposals or ensure concerns are considered without a related ordinance, Wright said.
 
“We’re still looking at it ... but I think it looks promising,” she said.
 
The township doesn’t have any large solar developments.
 
A few panels may be set up on rooftops to support residences, Wright said. In those cases, the projects would be “grandfathered” in because they pre-date any ordinance.
 
That would go unchanged unless those property owners make any “material” changes to their systems that would require a permit, Stofko said.

Content truncated due to possible copyright. Use source link for full article.


Source:https://www.tribdem.com/news/…

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