[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Evanston by Ord. No. 81-68. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Solar Access Regulations of the City of Evanston, Wyoming.
Authorization for this chapter is contained in Wyoming Statutes, 1977, sections 34-22-101 through 34-22-106.
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the City by encouraging the use of solar energy systems. It is the intent of this chapter to provide a means of protection for the use of solar collectors without causing undue hardships on the rights of adjacent property owners and to establish solar collectors as a permitted use in all zoning or land use districts.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
- SOLAR COLLECTOR
- One of the following, which is capable of collecting, storing or transmitting at least twenty-five thousand BTU's on a clear winter solstice day:
- A. A wall, clerestory or skylight window designed to transmit solar energy into a structure for heating purposes;
- B. A greenhouse attached to another structure and designed to provide part or all of the heating load for the structure to which it is attached;
- C. A trombe wall, drum wall or other wall or roof structural element designed to collect and transmit solar energy into a structure;
- D. A photovoltaic collector designed to convert solar energy into electric energy;
- E. A plate type collector designed to use solar energy to heat air, water or other fluids for use in hot water or space heating or other applications;
- F. A massive structural element designed to collect solar energy and transmit it to internal spaces for heating; or
- G. Other devices or combination of devices that rely upon sunshine as an energy source.
- SOLAR RIGHT
- A property right to an unobstructed line of sight path from a solar collector to the sun, which permits radiation from the sun to impinge directly on the solar collector. The extent of the solar right shall be described by that illumination provided by the path of the sun on the winter solstice day which is put to a beneficial use or otherwise limited by this chapter.
- WINTER SOLSTICE DAY
- The solstice on or about December 21 which marks the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere and the time when the sun reaches its southernmost point.
Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, it is unlawful for any person to erect a building or other structure so as to, or to allow a tree, shrub or other vegetation to, cast a shadow upon a solar collector which is greater than the shadow cast by a hypothetical ten foot high wall located along the property lines, between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 3: 00 P.M. Mountain Standard Time, on the winter solstice day.
Solar collectors shall be located on the solar user's property, so as not to unreasonably or unnecessarily restrict the uses of neighboring property.
Structures or vegetation which existed prior to the time of installation of the solar energy collection system or the effective date of this chapter shall not be subject to the requirements of section 16-6.
Any person desiring to erect any structure, increase the height of any structure, permit the growth of any tree or other vegetation or otherwise use his property, not in conformance with this chapter, may apply for a variance from the planning and zoning commission. A variance shall not be approved by the commission unless it finds that the literal enforcement or application of this chapter would result in unnecessary hardship.
A solar access permit shall be granted before a solar right may be established.
A solar access permit shall be granted for any proposed or existing solar collector which complies with the requirements of this chapter.
The solar right vests on the date the solar access permit is granted. The solar collector shall be put to beneficial use within two years; except, that additional time may be granted for good cause. The building inspector or other administrative official shall certify the right and its beneficial use within two years.
Existing solar collector users shall apply for permits within five years after the date this chapter is passed.
A solar right which is not applied to a beneficial use for a period of five years or more shall be deemed abandoned and without priority.
Any person who desires to obtain a solar right shall first make application to the building inspector or other administrative official for a solar access permit.
The application for a permit, along with the required fee, shall be filed on a form furnished for that purpose. Information adequate to determine compliance with this chapter shall accompany the application.
The building inspector or other administrative official, after review of the application, shall grant a solar access permit for any proposed or existing solar collector which complies with this chapter.
A copy of the solar access permit shall be recorded with the county clerk by the person receiving the solar access permit. The solar access permit shall include a description of the collector surface or that portion of the collector surface to which the permit is granted. The description shall include the dimensions of the collector surface, the direction of orientation, the height above ground level, the location of the collector on the solar user's property and the date the solar access permit was granted.
The building inspector or other administrative official shall enforce this chapter and bring to the attention of the City attorney any violations or lack of compliance.
Any person who violates or refuses to comply with the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than seven hundred fifty dollars for each offense.