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Summit Hill considers solar panel regulations

Published January 08. 2010 05:00PM

Joe Weber, president of the Summit Hill Borough Council, hasn't named his committees for 2010 yet.

One which will become busy immediately will be the ordinance committee, with two pending issues discussed during the council's first meeting of the year.

Larry Marek, zoning officer, suggested that the council adopt rules regarding solar panels. He said currently, if an individual invests in solar panels, there's nothing to stop a neighbor from planting tall trees and blocking the sunlight.

Chief of Police Joe Fittos urged council members to review its snow emergency ordinance and make it "more user friendly."

Weber said he will have a list of committees at next month's council meeting, which will be held Feb. 9 in the borough hall.

Marek said the council should look into adopting an ordinance regarding solar panels as soon as possible since the panels are now sold at such home improvement stores as Lowes.

"We have no ordinance concerning solar power," he said. He presented the council with a sample ordinance.

Marek said there is currently nothing to stop a developer from constructing a tall building next to a home where the owner invested in solar panels, blocking the sunlight for much of the day.

He presented a magazine article to the council which states, "The more a solar array is exposed to sunlight, the more electricity it will produce, and so they are most effective when unobstructed."

The article also states, "The basic goal of zoning in a borough is to ensure that one property owner's use of his land does not conflict with the rights of other property owners, and carefully crafted zoning ordinances are the means to achieve a sometimes delicate balance."

Of the snow emergency plan, Fittos said the existing one is outdated and that a major storm could create problems.

He said the borough might not have to rewrite the existing ordinance, instead tweaking the existing one.

He asked council to allow him to be included on committee discussions regarding the snow emergency regulations.

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