On September 28, 2021, the Vanderburgh County Area Plan Commission (“APC”), a local agency designated to carry out land use planning for the City of Evansville, Vanderburgh County, and the Town of Darmstadt, notified the public of its intent to consider an amendment to the Vanderburgh County Code establishing new standards for both solar energy systems for on-site consumption and commercial solar energy generating facilities. The proposed ordinance is based on a Model Solar Ordinance for local Indiana governments prepared by the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute, a proponent of appropriate solar energy development. Solar energy systems in residential neighborhoods often results in land use conflicts as proponents and opponents seek to find a balance between access to solar resources and the visual impacts and safety concerns.
For residential homeowners, the proposed amendment would permit solar energy systems in all zoning districts, provided such systems meet certain location, height, setback, and visibility requirements. Requirements would also be imposed on commercial solar energy generating facilities, including the property owner obtaining proper zoning uses and an Improvement Location Permit approved by the APC.
The APC will take public comments on the proposed amendment on October 7, 2021. Based on the comments received and revisions the APC determines necessary, the APC will then vote on a draft to be submitted to the Vanderburgh County Commissioners for consideration and approval. A copy of the draft amendment may be viewed at the following link:
Interested parties may also want to follow the progress of Indiana House Bill 1331, which would see Indiana join approximately twenty-five (25) other states in passing solar access laws designed to prevent HOAs from imposing unreasonable restrictions on homeowners who want to install solar energy systems. As of this writing, there is no law in Indiana protecting the right to solar access. Should you have additional questions or concerns regarding the above or any related topic, please contact Joshua R. Trockman or any member of the KDDK Real Estate Practice Team.