Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 21, 2012

GOSHEN PLAN COMMISSION: Solar panel regulations one step closer

By AMANDA GRAY
THE GOSHEN NEWS

GOSHEN — Solar panels may have some regulation within Goshen city limits if passed by the Goshen City Council.

The Goshen Plan Commission members approved a recommendation for changes to the zoning ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting. The changes will go to a future City Council meeting for final approval.

The changes centered around three sections — solar panels, home occupations and manufacturing parking.

“This started back with our June meeting,” City Planner Rhonda Yoder said, referencing an initial round of changes proposed for the ordinance.

Yoder said a group was organized to propose changes and they centered around these three topics.

Solar panels haven’t been regulated by name before and Yoder said the group proposed concrete regulations and new definitions for the ordinance.

“This is similar to what we see now for fences,” Yoder said about the proposed changes for solar panels.

The regulations include limiting where the panels can be placed based on solar glare, keeping solar panels in good repair and removing inoperable, non-functioning or poorly maintained panels.

Changes proposed for home occupation include minor grammatical corrections. The group also proposed striking “No equipment or process shall be used in a home occupation except those customarily used in a residential dwelling unit” from the ordinance, but the commission members took legal counsel from city attorney Jim Kolbus, who said it would be easier to leave the sentence in than construct the lists of non-permitted uses.

Parking regulations for manufacturing businesses zoned Manufacturing-1 also saw a change in parking regulations. For any new businesses, or any businesses that add on to their buildings, the number of parking spaces on-site must equal one and a half spaces per two employees on peak shift, a change from one space for every two employees on peak shift.

“The current ratio is not providing enough on-site parking,” Yoder said.

Other business

• The commission members approved a recommendation to rezone a lot located at 118 Hackett Road from Industrial M-1 to Residential R-1 to reflect long-standing land use as a single-family home.