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DC-18-0002: Solar Energy Systems Update

DC-18-0002: Solar Energy Systems Update

History

The Board of County Commissioners authorized staff to pursue text amendments to the Boulder County Land Use Code related to solar energy systems on May 10, 2018. On Sept. 17, 2018, staff presented proposed Land Use Code text amendments related to solar energy systems to the Planning Commission, which recommend that the Board of County Commissioners approve the proposed amendments The Board of County commissioners approved the Land Use Code text amendments on Oct. 25, 2018 in Resolution-2018-118, effective Nov. 27, 2018.

The purpose of the Code amendments is to facilitate solar energy installation in appropriate locations, while balancing the county’s sustainability-related goals and policies with the scenic, agricultural, and environmental values of the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan. Land Use worked collaboratively with staff from the Parks and Open Space Department and Sustainability Office to identify potential locations for solar gardens in Boulder County. Through this work, staff identified opportunities to improve the clarity and content of the Code, and a need to address the scarcity of sites meeting current Code eligibility criteria for solar energy systems greater than 100kW. Staff intended to update relevant content in Articles 4 (Zoning) and 18 (Definitions) of the Land Use Code, and made other revisions necessary to integrate the changes. Some organizational changes and updates to the existing language were also needed to make the code easier to navigate and utilize.

Past Public Meetings

Board of County Commissioners Public Hearing, Oct. 25, 2018

Staff presented proposed Land Use Code text amendments related to solar energy systems to the Board of County Commissioners on Oct. 25, 2018. The changes pertain primarily to Articles 4 (Zoning) and 18 (Definitions), including adding use categories for building-mounted, ground-mounted and parking canopy systems; changing review requirements for certain types of solar projects; allowing community solar garden-scale projects on designated Significant Agricultural Lands; changing from capacity-based to area-of-disturbance based size categories for ground-mounted solar; among other changes. After the staff presentation, pubic comment and deliberation by the Board, the commissioners voted (2-1) to approve Docket DC-18-0002.
Documents:

Planning Commission Public Hearing, Sept. 17, 2018

On Sept. 17, 2018, staff presented proposed Land Use Code text amendments related to solar energy systems. The Planning Commission voted (7-0) to recommend that the Board of County Commissioners approve the proposed amendments in Attachment B of the staff report. The proposed changes pertain primarily to Articles 4 (Zoning) and 18 (Definitions). Proposed changes include adding use categories for building-mounted, ground-mounted and parking canopy systems; changing review requirements for certain types of solar projects; allowing community solar garden-scale projects on designated Significant Agricultural Lands; changing from capacity-based to area-of-disturbance-based size categories for ground-mounted solar; among other changes. Public testimony was taken.
Documents:

Planning Commission Study Session, July 23, 2018

A Study Session was held on July 23, 2018 to discuss Land Use Code amendments addressing solar energy systems within the Boulder County Land Use Code. No public testimony was taken at this time.
Action Requested: None
Documents:

Contact for this Docket

Sinead O’Dwyer, Long Range Planner I
Phone: 720-564-4596

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