BELDING, Mich. – The Belding City Council listened to a first reading about amending a zoning ordinance concerning alternative energy at Tuesday’s meeting.
The ordinance amendment came after a resident requested to install solar panels on their property and sell the energy generated to Consumers Energy under a pilot program offered by the company. This request prompted the city’s planning commission to develop an alternative energy section of the zoning ordinance which includes solar and wind energy conversion systems.
The section states the use of alternative energy is allowed, but if the system is designed and intended to create 50 percent or more of the energy to a regulated utility, it must be approved as a special land use by the planning commission.
Solar panels placed on rooftops visible to the street may not extend 18 inches from the roof surface and must match the roof angle. Roofs which are not visible from the street may install panels which extend up to six feet above the roof surface and do not need to match the roof angle.
As for wind turbines, the turbines must not exceed a power rating of 20kW and must meet all safety requirements. The planning commission also is requiring turbines to be mounted on a monopole only and be set back from property lines a distance to the height of the rotor’s extensions. Turbines may only be mounted up to 50 feet high.
The second reading of the ordinance will take place at the next meeting Jan. 4.
In other business, the city council approved a motion to apply for a $5,000 grant from the Ionia County Community Foundation. The grant would be used toward the installation of a shuffleboard court at Demorest Field’s north end and east of the parking lot. The courts would be for public use and have a fence around the area. Belding City Manager Randall DeBruine said the total cost of the project is estimated at about $31,000.