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Residential use of wind energy systems banned, solar panel regulations approved

With a 3-1 approval, solar panels regulations were passed on Tuesday by the Celina City Council.

The original agenda item proposed regulations for both solar panels and wind energy systems. However, when a council member moved to approve the regulations as originally presented, the motion was not seconded. After amending the standards to only solar panel usage and prohibiting wind turbines altogether, the item passed with only one vote in opposition.

Council members expressed noise concerns and felt that the required minimum lot size of 2 acres to house a wind turbine was too small.

Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission grappled with the same issue when they met last month. The plan originally presented to them called for a required lot size of 1.5 acres.

They voted for a 2-acre increase. The City Council, however, still found this to be too small.

One of the main concerns was noise generated by wind energy systems.

Prior to Tuesday, the city had no regulations for alternative energy sources.

Helen-Eve Liebman, director of planning and development services, noted at both meetings that the city continues to receive more questions about alternative energy as more people move in.

“We get questions all the time,” Liebman said. “We need to either allow for it or say no.”

The solar panel recommendations were not altered from the plan presented Tuesday.

The council approved solar panel usage as rooftop installations only, as originally drafted.

They are not allowed to face a public street and cannot extend past the roofline. Solar panels must meet all building and fire code requirements.

Liebman did note that many of these alternative energy installations would also be contingent on homeowner’s associations.

Residents will now be able to apply for approval of energy systems installation.

The full list of requirements may be found at celina-tx.gov/AgendaCenter, under the Feb. 21 planning and zoning meeting.

Keep in mind that some of the recommendations have changed, and all portions pertaining to wind energy systems do not apply to Celina residents.