Town may craft limits on solar panel locations

The Town of Mineral is considering adopting regulations for solar panels as their popularity grows as a way to reduce electricity and heating costs.

The Journey Home, the transitional housing on Albemarle Avenue, received a grant to put solar panels on their property and came to the town council to request guidance.  

Vice-Mayor Michael Warlick presented council with regulations from Charlottesville, Fredericksburg and other nearby cities and towns. He noted that the rules were similar in most places, requiring ground mounts to be set back from the front of the property the same distance as the building (15 to 40 feet in the town of Mineral), set back three to five feet from the other property lines and for rooftop mounts to not exceed the height of the highest point of the roof.

Councilman Doswell “Tex” Pierce raised concerns about people putting ground-mounted solar panels on Mineral and Louisa avenues, suggesting they only allow rooftop solar panels along those streets.

“If you don’t require it to be just on the roof (along those streets) someone’s going to try to put it on the ground,” he said. “I don’t have any heartache with them going in the ground as long as it’s not along Mineral and Louisa avenues.”

Town Attorney Andrea Erard also recommended the town consider regulations about screening ground mounts.

Councilman Ed Kube moved to give the resources to the town’s planning commission to allow them to come up with recommendations.

“We need to do this because there’s probably going to be lots more coming down the road,” he said.

Warlick seconded the motion, which passed 4-0-1. Councilman Ed Jarvis, as the council’s liaison on the planning commision, abstained from the vote, and Councilman Roy “Snake” McGehee was absent.

The planning commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

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