Several months after residents installed solar panels on the roof of their home, the Planning Commission is seeking to regulate such installations and usage.
At the request of Planning Commission Chairwoman Mary Matuja, the Shores council unanimously approved a 90-day moratorium Monday night on a solar panels.
The time, Matuja told council, will allow the commission a sufficient amount of time to complete the research they've already begun and to write an ordinance concerning the regulation of solar panels.
The . The permit was granted as the city does not have any ordinance or other device to monitor or control their use.
Among the chief concerns in April for the commission members were the aesthetics and safety for emergency workers responding to a home using solar panels.
Matuja said then and said again to council Monday before her request was approved that because of the ugly nature of solar panels the commission wants to be proactive to prevent usage from becoming an unwanted look in the Shores.
She said there is always at least one person who will push the envelope when it comes to such projects and that is the person they want to anticipate now before a request is being considered.
She held a sheet with several pictures of the Hawthorne home during her presentation and later told Patch how the appearance of that particular home is what the commission is trying to prevent.
At least one company is slated to reveal newer panels that are more aesthetically pleasing and Matuja said the commission is waiting for that information in doing the research.
Before approving the moratorium Councilwoman Victoria Boyce questioned whether the commission intended to make the language generic in nature and wanted to make sure one product was not going to be recommended for usage. Matuja reassured her the language would generally address solar panels.
The commission did not seek the moritorium until now--about seven months after they began discussing the topic--because they did not understand what a visual impact the panels would have on a home, Matuja said. After seeing how the home on Hawthorne looks following the completion of the installation, the Planning Commission decided it wanted to definitely take action, she said.
The roof that was removed and replaced with solar panels on Hawthorne faces Schroeder Field, and while no one can really see it unless they are in the park, Matuja said it is not the look the Shores wants. She also noted the glare that results from the sun reflecting off the panels.
With research already complete about how other communities, including St. Clair Shores, Brownstown, Bloomfield Hills and several others, handle regulation of solar panels, Matuja said 90 days will be a good amount of time.
Shores attorney Mark McInerney said the moratorium will essentially prevent anyone from installing solar panels for that amount of time and afterward an ordinance should be in place to help regulate future requests.
Councilman Brian Geraghty told Matuja he would like to see the ordinance address the legal rights of neighbors trees. His request stems from a recent article he read about residents in California who were allowed to sue to have their neighbor's trees trimmed to prevent them from shading their solar panels. He does not want anyone in the Shores to have the right to interfere with a neighbor's landscaping.
Matuja said she would consider the request.