HINCKLEY TWP. –– Hinckley trustees voted Tuesday to approve legislation that would offer guidelines for solar and alternative energy uses and installation throughout the township.
The legislation is an addition to a Hinckley Township zoning resolution.
Trustees have been discussing alternative energy legislation since a request by a homeowner to install solar panels led to the discovery that no such legislation existed in the township. The resident received an order from the township to stop working on the panels until trustees could discuss the issue further.
Going forward, residents and business owners who wish to use ground and roof solar panels and other energy alternatives must go before the township’s zoning commission to present the idea and get a permit.
“The purpose of what we’re doing here is to revise the Hinckley Township resolution in an effort to promote the safe, effective and efficient use of alternative energy systems,” said Chris Kalina, chairman of the zoning commission.
The new chapter that was added to the resolution was to specify how residents can and cannot build alternative energy in different zoning districts throughout the township. In writing the new chapter, Kalina said he researched other areas in the county that have already addressed this issue including Harrisville, Westfield and Montville townships.
“What we realized was that some of what they had was good language, but there wasn’t really anything that fit Hinckley Township in particular,” Kalina said.
Some of the regulations in the new legislation include not installing solar panel roof displays more that 24 inches above the plane of the roof, installing panels in a way that prevents glare or reflection onto adjacent properties and not including advertisements on solar panel displays.
The legislation also addresses wind energy and other forms of alternative energy. Residents at the meeting expressed mixed feelings about the resolution changes.
“The proposed amendments to regulate wind energy and hydronic burners are well thought out and sufficient,” said Richard Pearl, a Hinckley resident and member of 350 Hinckley, an organization of residents.
“We believe the scope of amendments to regulate solar arrays is too narrow and unnecessarily limited; more specifically, the amendments do not allow structure mounted solar arrays on a residence or accessory structure.”
At the meeting, the board voted unanimously in favor of passing the legislation although there is still a 20-day waiting period before it becomes official.
Trustee Jim Burns said he has some concerns about some of the wording, but believes they are all things that the board can vote to reword in the future.
“I’m a confessed tree hugger,” Burns said. “I’m passionate about our environment and I want to see Hinckley Township on the forefront of solar energy and alternative energy.”
More information on the resolution changes can be found at www.hinckleytwp.org or by calling (330) 278-4181.