to the Solar CollectorBrainstorming and Development
Water Project 1
Water & Space Heating
This article may be referred to as the "Solar Energy System Ordinance."
(Ord. No. 551-05/09, pt. I, 5-12-09; Ord. No. 829-01/14, pt. II, 1-14-14)
Note— Former § 65-41. See editor's note, art. III.
This article is adopted pursuant to authority granted by Wis. Stats. §§ 59.69, 59.694, 66.040 and 66.0403
Note— Former § 65-42. See editor's note, art. III.
The County finds that solar energy is an abundant, renewable, and nonpolluting energy resource and that its conversion to electricity or heat will reduce our dependence on nonrenewable energy resources and decrease the air and water pollution that results from the use of conventional energy sources. Distributed solar photovoltaic systems will also enhance the reliability and power quality of the power grid, make more efficient use of electric distribution infrastructure, reduce peak power demands, and help diversify the energy supply. Solar energy systems offer additional energy choice to consumers and improves the competitiveness of the electricity supply market. The County finds building-mounted solar energy, within the standards noted below, to be an essential service.
Note— Former § 65-43. See editor's note, art. III.
This article applies to all lands within the boundaries of the County lying outside the limits of incorporated cities and villages and adopted in accordance with Wis. Stats. § 59.69.
Note— Former § 65-44. See editor's note, art. III.
It is not intended by this article to repeal, abrogate, annul, impair, or interfere with any existing ordinance.
Note— Former § 65-45. See editor's note, art. III.
The provisions of this article are severable, and the invalidity of any section, subdivision, paragraph, or other part of this article shall not affect the validity or effectiveness of the remainder of the article.
Note— Former § 65-46. See editor's note, art. III.
This article shall not create a duty or liability on the part of or a cause of action against the County, its officers or employees thereof, for any damages that may result from administration of or reliance on this article.
The County is not responsible for impermissible interference. The owner of the property shall release, indemnify and hold harmless the County and its agents and employees from all liability, claims, demands, causes of action, costs, or losses for personal injuries, property damage or loss of life or property resulting from installation and/or use of an active solar energy system.
Note— Former § 65-47. See editor's note, art. III.
In this article:
Collector use period. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. standard time daily.
Photovoltaic system. A manmade solar energy system that converts solar energy directly into electricity.
Solar collector. A manmade device which is part of a solar energy system, providing the surface on which sunlight energy is collected.
Solar energy. Radiant energy received from the sun that can be collected in the form of heat or light by a solar collector.
Solar energy system. A manmade system that transforms solar energy into another form of energy or transfers heat from a solar collector to another medium using mechanical, electrical, or chemical means.
Solar hot water system. A type of solar energy system that includes a solar collector and a heat exchanger that heats or preheats water for building heating systems or other hot water needs, including residential domestic hot water and hot water for commercial processes.
Note— Former § 65-48. See editor's note, art. III.
A solar energy system shall be permitted in all zoning classifications where buildings are permitted. If the system fails to meet the following standards, a conditional use review and approval in accordance with section 65-47 and chapter 74 shall be required.
Building mounted solar systems shall be exempt from the conditional use process and zoning permit process outlined in chapter 74 provided the solar system does not extend more than 18 inches from the original exterior perimeter of the permitted building on which the system is mounted or built. Zoning permits may be obtained to extend the structure beyond 18 inches provided all setback requirements are met. Further provided if located on a principal structure, the structure is at least five feet from all property lines and if located on an accessory structure, the structure is at least three feet from all property lines.
Ground mounted/pole mounted solar system may be exempt from the conditional use process but is required to obtain a zoning permit provided the entire system meets the total accessory structure limitations in accordance with chapter 74, does not exceed 12.5 kilowatt in rated capacity total for the parcel, and is no more than 21 feet in height.
Electrical: Electric solar system components and batteries must be in compliance with applicable electrical codes.
Glare and light: Collector surfaces shall minimize glare and reflected light.
Safety: The solar system must be anchored or secured in accordance with applicable building codes.
Note— Former § 65-49. See editor's note, art. III.
The application for a zoning permit for each solar energy system, including must be accompanied by a fee set by the County Board.
A zoning permit is required for the installation of a solar energy system except a solar energy system that does not extend more than 18 inches from the original exterior perimeter of a permitted building on which the system is mounted or built.
A person may submit a zoning permit application to the Administrator for a solar energy system. The application must be on a form approved or provided by the County and must include the name, address, and telephone number of the person designated by the owner as the contact for operational issues and the investigation of any complaints. The application must also be accompanied by two copies of a drawing that shows the proposed height, location and distance of the system from the property lines of the parcel on which it is located.
The Administrator should issue a permit or deny the application within 30 days of the date on which the application is complete.
The Administrator will issue a zoning permit for a solar energy system if the application materials show that the proposed system location meets the requirements of this article and of the conditional use permit issued by the County Zoning Agency.
If the application is approved, the Administrator will return one copy of the drawing with an approved copy of the zoning permit and retain the other copy with the original application.
If the application is denied, the Administrator will notify the applicant in writing and provide a written statement of the reason why the application was denied. The owner may appeal the Administrator's decision to the Board of Adjustment as provided in chapter 74.
The zoning permit card must be conspicuously posted on the premises and visible to the public at all times until construction or installation of the system is complete.
Expiration. A permit expires if the solar energy system is not installed and functioning within two years from the date the permit is issued.
Note— Former § 65-50. See editor's note, art. III.
A person may submit an application to the Administrator for a conditional use permit for a solar energy system. The procedures shall be in accordance with chapter 74 of the Walworth County Code of Ordinances. The Administrator will review the application materials for completeness and may request that the applicant provide additional information. When the Administrator determines that the application is complete, the Administrator will forward it to the Committee.
Setbacks. Solar energy systems that require conditional use approval shall be located at least 50 feet from all property lines and 75 feet from the ordinary high water mark.
The Committee will conduct a hearing on the application after a class 2 hearing notice is published in the official newspaper of the County and shoreland notice is provided to DNR at least ten days prior to the hearing. The hearing will be held within 60 days after the Committee receives the completed application.
The Committee will grant a conditional use permit if it determines that the requirements of this article are met and that granting the permit will not unreasonably interfere with the orderly land use and development plans of the County. The Committee may include conditions in the permit if those conditions preserve or protect the public health and safety; do not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its efficiency; or allow for an alternative system of comparable cost and efficiency. The Committee may consider the following when setting conditions:
Proposed ingress and egress.
Proximity to transmission lines to link the system to the electric power grid.
Number and their location.
Nature of land use on adjacent and nearby properties.
Location systems in the surrounding area.
Proximity to residential structures, residential zoning districts, or areas identified for future residential use.
Possible adverse effects on migratory birds, raptors, and other animals and wildlife.
Impact on the orderly development.
Proximity to public and private roads.
Recommendation of the Town Board for each town in which a solar energy system is located.
Any other factors that are relevant to the proposed system.
The Committee decision, the reason for its decision, and any conditions will be recorded in the minutes. The Committee may authorize the County Zoning Administrator to issue a conditional use permit or inform the applicant in writing the conditional use permit has been denied.
The Committee decision may be appealed to the Circuit Court via certiorari. Appeals must be commenced seeking the remedy available by certiorari within 30 days after the filing date of the decision by the Committee.
Note— Former § 65-51. See editor's note, art. III.
After a solar system is no longer in operation, the owner shall have 90 days to effect removal and restoration unless weather prohibits such efforts:
Shall remove all solar energy system and outdoor storage;
Shall remove all hazardous material from the property and dispose of the hazardous material in accordance with Federal and State law.
If the owner fails to remove a solar energy system and reclaim the site, the County may remove or cause the removal of the solar system and the reclamation of the site. The County may recover the cost of removal and reclamation from any financial assurance provided by the owner pursuant to section 65-10(7). Any removal or reclamation cost incurred by the County that is not recovered from the owner will become a lien on the property where the removal or reclamation takes place and may be collected from the landowner in the same manner as property taxes.
Note— Former § 65-52. See editor's note, art. III.
All applications shall include a fee in accordance with the County Board approved schedule of fees.
Note— Former § 65-53. See editor's note, art. III.
A permit issued pursuant to this article expires if the solar energy system is not installed and functioning within two years from the date the permit is issued.
Note— Former § 65-54. See editor's note, art. III.
It is unlawful for any person to construct, install, maintain, modify, or operate a solar energy system that is not in compliance with this article or with any condition contained in a conditional use or zoning permit issued pursuant to this article.
Note— Former § 65-55. See editor's note, art. III.
This article shall be administered by the County Zoning Administrator.
The Administrator may enter any property for which a conditional use or zoning permit has been issued under this article to conduct an inspection to determine whether the conditions stated in the permit have been met.
The Administrator may issue orders to abate any violation of this article.
The Administrator may issue a citation for any violation of this article.
The Administrator may refer any violation of this article to the corporation counsel for enforcement.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the County from using any other lawful means to enforce this article.
Note— Former § 65-56. See editor's note, art. III.
Any person who fails to comply with any provision of this article, a conditional use permit or a zoning permit issued pursuant to this article shall be subject to citations in accordance with thechapter 14 of the Walworth County Code of Ordinances.
The failure of any employee, official, or officer of the County to perform any official duty imposed by this code will not subject the employee, official, or officer to the penalty imposed for violation of this code unless a penalty is specifically provided.
Note— Former § 65-57. See editor's note, art. III.
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