A. Purpose. Solar Access Permits are intended to provide solar energy systems protection from shading by vegetation. The setback provisions of this chapter protect shading by buildings.
B. Applicability. Any property owner may apply for a Solar Access Permit from the Staff Advisor.
1. No Solar Access Permit may be filed which would restrict any lot which has an average slope of 15 percent or more in the northerly direction.
2. A Solar Access Permit becomes void if the use of the solar energy system is discontinued for more than 12 consecutive months or if the solar energy system is not installed and operative within 12 months of the filing date of the Solar Access Permit. The applicant may reapply for a Solar Access Permit in accordance with section 18.4.8.060, and the application fee shall be waived.
C. Application Submission Requirements. The applicant is responsible for the accuracy of all information provided in the application. The application shall be in such form as the Staff Advisor may prescribe, but at a minimum shall include the following.
1. The required fee.
2. The applicant's name and address, the owner's name and address, and the tax lot number of the property where the proposed solar energy system is to be located.
3. A statement by the applicant that the solar energy system is already installed or that it will be installed on the property within one year following the granting of the permit.
4. The proposed site and location of the solar energy system, its orientation with respect to true south, and its slope from the horizontal shown clearly in drawing form.
5. A sun chart. The sunchart must contain at a minimum the southern skyline as seen through a grid which plots solar altitude for a 42 degree northern latitude in ten degree increments and solar azimuth measured from true south in 15 degree increments. If the solar energy system is less than 20 feet wide, a minimum of one sunchart must be taken from the bottom edge of the center of the solar energy system. If the solar energy system is greater than 20 feet wide, a minimum of two suncharts must be taken, one from the bottom edge of each end of the solar energy system.
6. The tax lot numbers of a maximum of ten adjacent properties proposed to be subject to the Solar Access Permit. A parcel map of the owner's property showing such adjacent properties with the location of existing buildings and vegetation, with all exempt vegetation labeled exempt.
7. The Solar Access Permit height limitations as defined in section 18.4.8.040 of this ordinance, for each affected property which are necessary to protect the solar energy system from shade during solar heating hours. In no case shall the height limitations of the Solar Access Permit be more restrictive than the building setbacks.
C. If the application is complete and complies with this ordinance, the Staff Advisor shall accept the Solar Access Permit and notify the applicant.
D. Notice. The Staff Advisor shall send notice by certified letter, return receipt requested, to each owner of property proposed to be subject to the Solar Access Permit. The letter shall contain, at a minimum, the following information.
1. The name and address of the applicant.
2. A statement that an application for a Solar Access Permit has been filed.
3. Copies of the solar energy system location drawing, sunchart, and parcel map submitted by the applicant.
4. A statement that the Solar Access Permit, if granted, imposes on them duties to trim vegetation at their expense.
5. The advisability of obtaining photographic proof of the existence of trees and large shrubs.
6. The times and places where the application may be viewed.
7. Telephone number and address of the City departments that will provide further information.
8. That any adversely affected person may object to the issuance of the permit by a stated time and date, and how and where the objection must be made.
E. Effective Date of Decision.
1. If no objections are filed within 30 days following the date the final certified letter is mailed, the Staff Advisor shall issue the Solar Access Permit.
2. If any adversely affected person or governmental unit files a written objection with the Staff Advisor within the specified time, and if the objections still exist after informal discussions among the objector, appropriate City Staff, and the applicant, a hearing date shall be set and a hearing held in accordance with the provisions of 18.4.8.060.F.
F. Hearing Procedure.
1. The Staff Advisor shall send notice of the hearing on the permit application to the applicant and to all persons originally notified of the Solar Access Permit application, and shall otherwise follow the procedures for a Type II hearing in section 18.5.1.060.
2. The Staff Advisor shall consider the matters required for applications set forth in 18.4.8.060 on which the applicant shall bear the burden of proof, and the following factor on which the objector shall bear the burden of proof: A showing by the objector that the proposed solar energy system would unreasonably restrict the planting of vegetation on presently under-developed property.
a. If the objector is unable to prove these circumstances and the applicant makes the showings required by 18.4.8.020.C.1, the Staff Advisor shall approve the permit.
b. If the applicant has failed to show all structures or vegetation shading of the proposed solar energy system location in his application, the Staff Advisor may approve the permit while adding the omitted shading structures or vegetation as exemptions from this chapter.
c. If the objector shows that an unconditional approval of the application would unreasonably restrict development of the objector's presently under-developed property, the Staff Advisor may approve the permit, adding such exemptions as are necessary to allow for reasonable development of the objector's property.
d. If the Staff Advisor finds that the application contains inaccurate information that substantially affects the enforcement of the Solar Access Permit, the application shall be denied.