Lake Bluff tackles solar devices
Updated: August 20, 2012 1:19PM
LAKE BLUFF -- The Lake Bluff Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals considered how the village should manage solar devices’ locations, installations, operations and maintenance for homes and businesses at its Aug. 15 meeting.
In the next two months, the PCZBA expects to finish a draft ordinance to hand it over to the village board for consideration.
“The question of regulation (for solar devices) is the question of size and location,” said Joan Kaltas, chair of the PCZBA. “It’s about what we want to regulate and what we don’t.”
Lake Bluff resident John Keller who has solar panels on his house told the PCZBA that he was dubious about some of the village’s proposed regulations. Among his concerns was the proposed requirement to put solar panels flush to roofs. While that might work for most homes in Lake Bluff that have angled roofs, it would cause problems for homes like his that are flat on top.
“I’m concerned that the regulations will throw cold water on solar use because you’re putting on these restrictions,” Keller said.
Other proposed regulations include allowing portable solar devices to heat swimming pools, provided these devices are used between April 1 and Oct. 31, and expecting ground-mounted solar systems to be screened from view based on specifications in village-issued special use permits.
Currently, the village has no regulations for solar devices but as solar technology becomes more sophisticated, village officials decided it was time to consider regulations.
“We all know the value of solar energy, but we also know the practicalities of being good neighbors,” said Michael Goldsberry, a PCZBA member. “I worry that with some homes so close together we might have problems.”
In other JPCZBA issues, board members asked the owners of Chevrolet Exchange, 1 Sherwood Terrrace, to return to the PCZBA with a more comprehensive landscape plan for its proposal to place two detention ponds underground. By doing so, it’d create about 55 parking spaces for cars to sell and employee parking, according to Chevrolet officials. But it would also require the removal of a clump of birches.
PCZBA members said putting the detention basins underground and paving them over would take away too much greenery.
“Our goal is not to have lots paved over from lot line to lot line,” said Mary Collins, a PCZBA member.
Chevrolet executives agreed to add greenery and will show the board their plans at the next meeting. ~.