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Local Land Use Board and my experience
May 21, 2012
1:11 am
New Member
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
May 21, 2012

I applied for a variance last year for ground mounted solar panels withn the side and rear setbacks of my property last year and the varinace was denied by the Local Land Use Board do to a complaint by my adjacent property owner. I appealed the decision and the judge has ordered a remand of the decision and will appear in the near future in front of the Land Use Board again. The Judge requested that I contact the neighbor and ask permission to take photos from their deck to determine if simulaitons of proposed plantings will show that the solar panels and plantings are not a detriment to their view and help shield the view of the panels. We are about to send a letter to the neighbor requesting access to the deck, which most likely they will not allow us access. If access is not granted, I plan to present photos of the deck from the proposed ground mounted array along with a plan showing the planitngs.

There are plenty of underlying factors here, the resolution denying the variance by the Land Use Board and now the Superior Courts decision on this issue.

I hope someone can contact me and give me some additional direction on these issues. My solar company's "expert" that testified at the Land Use Board Hearing was fired a month after the meeting (not related, I think) and did not provide decent expert testimony. This solar company has offered no assisstance on this matter. I also currently lease panels from Sunrun for garage roof mounted panels, I do not believe they are aware of what is going on here,maybe they can contract me and offer some assistance.

Also, I live in Lafayette, New Jersey and the the Township adopted a renewable energy ordinance last year which is very restrictive for the placement of ground mounted solar panels on less than 3 acres requires a variance. Here is a link to the ordinance.…..011_11.pdf Any thoughts on this ordinance?

Please contact me for more information.

Chris Gernat

May 30, 2012
4:51 pm
Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
November 14, 2011

Hello Chris.

This sounds very frustrating. I'm in California where there is no private right to view so a neighbor can't complain that something in your yard is unappealing to them therefore you shouldn't be able to build it.

I've reached out to a few folks who may be able to add some insight in the particulars of your situation. It does seem that a 3 acre minimum for ground mount is arbitrary and capricious. It also seems silly that if you built a shed in your yard it would be exempted from review as long as it was no higher than 12" above the peak height of the roof.

One thing you might consider is pointing out that the visual impact of a roof mounted system on a permitted shed should be far greater than a similarly sized ground mount system that is currently subject to variance requirements.

Regardless, DECA is happy to assist with letters of support, comparisons to other jurisdictions, etc. We will follow up with you once we hear more from folks with more NJ zoning experience.


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