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Zoning commission considers solar, wind rules

DANVILLE – Members of the Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission tonight will consider the addition of solar and wind energy system regulations to the Danville Zoning Ordinance.

City officials have been talking about the regulations for several months. There are no regulations for either right now in the city’s zoning ordinance, said Danville Planning and Urban Services Manager Chris Milliken.

“All that is new,” Milliken said.

The wind energy regulations aren’t for a wind farm in the city or zoning jurisdiction, he said.

“It’s defined as a small wind energy system,” he said adding that this would be like a wind turbine in a back yard or on a business property, for on-site use and restricted to agriculture, rural residential, professional, general business and industrial zoning districts. There are regulations including for property setbacks, color, lighting and removal of the wind turbines if abandoned.

The solar panel regulations would allow for small ground-mounted or roof-mounted systems. Unlike for wind, the solar panels if roof mounted would not have zoning district restrictions.

The city also has had interest, from about five to six developers, in large-scale solar panel arrays on city-owned property or private farm ground. These large-scale arrays would be “pretty limited,” Milliken said. They could go on property zoned industrial, or also zoned agriculture with a special-use permit.

State renewable energy incentives and tax credits have encouraged more solar development.

Milliken said some developers have looked at 10-20 acre sites to purchase or lease around the city, and also in the county, to put solar panels on to tie back into the electrical grid system.

“We could see one or two potential (developers) in the next six to 12 months,” Milliken said.

Some developers have partnered with businesses or housing projects, he added.

In other business, commission members will:

• Consider a special-use permit requested by William Smalley to allow for a manufactured home at 323 Sunset Road in the RR rural residential zoning district.

Milliken said the property is east of Sunset’s cemetery. It’s about 2.5 acres and outside the city’s limits, but within the mile and a half zoning jurisdiction.

He said there is a single-family house on the property that would be demolished and replaced with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development manufactured home.

There are about five houses in the immediate vicinity, and other manufactured homes in the area, Milliken added, saying there have been no neighbor comments on the proposed special-use permit.

• Consider amending the Danville Zoning Ordinance to change language pertaining to administrative provisions relating to the powers and duties in combining the zoning commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. The city council last month approved combining both boards.

• Hear about ongoing projects, including the Bowman Avenue Corridor Study, and other possible zoning ordinance revisions.

Milliken said another area they’re looking at relates to parking.

He said discussions have included the high standards for minimum parking spots on some properties, such as a retail site.


The Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission will meet at 5:15 tonight at the Robert E. Jones Municipal Building, 17 W. Main St.