Community Updates

Notice of Ordinance Adoption

FRUITPORT CHARTER TOWNSHIP
NOTICE OF POSTING OF ADOPTED ORDINANCE

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that at a meeting of the Fruitport Charter Township Board held on March 11, 2019 the Board had a second reading of and adopted the Solar Energy Regulation Ordinance.

The Ordinance (No. 807) will allow for and regulate the production of solar energy within Fruitport Charter Township. This Ordinance shall be effective 8 days after its publication.   

The complete text of Ordinance 807 is available for public inspection in the office of the Clerk, 5865 Airline Road, Fruitport, MI during the hours of 8:30 A.M. and 4:30 P.M., Monday-Friday and on the Township website at www.fruitporttownship-mi.gov.



FRUITPORT CHARTER TOWNSHIP

  ORDINANCE NO. 807

  ZONING TEXT AMENDMENT ORDINANCE

THIS IS AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE ZONING CHAPTER OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES FOR FRUITPORT CHARTER TOWNSHIP, MUSKEGON COUNTY, MICHIGAN, CONCERNING THE REGULATION OF SOLAR ENERGY.

            THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF FRUITPORT, COUNTY OF MUSKEGON, STATE OF MICHIGAN, ORDAINS:

            Section 1.  Definitions.  Section 42-3 of Article I in Chapter 42 of the Fruitport Charter Township Code of Ordinances is expanded to include in their entirety, in alphabetical order, the following definitions.

Building-mounted solar energy collector means a solar energy collector attached to the roof or wall of a building, or which serves as the roof, wall, or other element in whole or in part of a building.  Also includes building-integrated photovoltaic systems (BIPV).


Ground-mounted solar energy collector means a solar energy collector that is not attached to and is separate from any building on the parcel of land on which the solar energy collector is located.


Small-scale solar energy collector means a solar energy collector primarily intended to provide energy for on-site uses and to provide power for use by owners, lessees, tenants, residents, or other occupants of the lot on which they are erected.  It may be comprised of the following: building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems, flush-mounted solar panels, ground-mounted solar energy collectors, or building-mounted solar energy systems.


Solar energy collector means a panel or panels and/or other devices or equipment, or any combination thereof, that collect, store, distribute and/or transform solar, radiant energy into electrical, thermal, or chemical energy for the purpose of generating electric power or other form of generator energy for use in or associated with a principal land use on the lot where the solar energy collector is located, or if permitted, for the sale and distribution of excess available electricity to an authorized public utility for distribution to other than the lot where located.

 

Utility-scale solar energy collector means a large-scale facility of solar energy collectors with the primary purpose of wholesale or retail sales of generated electricity; also known as a solar farm.

 

            Section 2.  R-4 Special Uses.  Subsection (6) of Section 42-338 of Division 5, Article VI, Chapter 42 of the Fruitport Charter Township Code of Ordinances, concerning special uses in the R-4 Rural Residential, Recreation and Agriculture District, is added in its entirety as follows.

 

            (6)        Utility-scale solar energy collector.

 

            Section 3.  B-3 Special Uses.  Section (11) of Section 42-418 of Division 10, Article VI, Chapter 42 of the Fruitport Charter Township Code of Ordinances, concerning special uses in the B-3 Service Business District, is added in its entirety as follows.

 

            (11)      Utility-scale solar energy collector.

 

            Section 4.  Small-Scale Solar Energy Collectors and Systems.  Article X of Chapter 42 of the Fruitport Charter Township Code of Ordinances, concerning small-scale energy collectors and systems, is added in its entirety as follows.

 

ARTICLE X.  SMALL SCALE SOLAR ENERGY COLLECTORS AND SYSTEMS

 

Sec. 42-690.  Applicability.

 

This article applies to any system of small-scale solar energy collector systems.  This article does not apply to solar energy collectors mounted on fences, poles, or on the ground with collector surface areas less than five square feet and less than five feet above the ground, nor does this article apply to utility-scale solar energy collector systems.  Nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit collective solar installations or the sale of excess power through a net billing or net-metering arrangement.

 

Sec. 42-691.  General Requirements.

 

(1)        Applications.  In addition to all other required application contents as required by this chapter, equipment and unit renderings, elevation drawings, and site plans depicting the location and distances from lot lines and adjacent structures shall be submitted for review.  No small-scale solar energy collector system shall be installed or operated except in compliance with this Chapter.

 

(2)        Glare and reflection.  The exterior surfaces of solar energy collectors shall be generally neutral in color and substantially non-reflective of light.  A unit may not be installed or located so that sunlight or glare is reflected into neighboring dwellings or onto streets or private roads.

 

(3)        Installation.

 

            a.         A solar energy collector shall be permanently and safely attached to the ground or structure. Solar energy collectors, and their installation and use, shall comply with building codes, electrical codes, and other applicable township and state requirements.

 

            b.         Solar energy collectors shall be installed, maintained, and used only in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions.  Upon request, a copy shall be submitted to the township prior to installation.

 

            c.         The applicant shall certify that the construction and installation meet or exceed the manufacturer’s construction and installation standards.

 

(4)        Power lines.  On site power lines between solar panels and inverters shall be placed underground.

 

(5)        Fire risk.  Fuel sources such as vegetation shall be removed from the immediate vicinity of electrical equipment and connections.

 

(6)        Abandonment and removal.  A solar energy collector system that ceases to produce energy on a continuous basis for 12 months will be considered abandoned unless the responsible party with ownership interest in the system provides substantial evidence to the township every six months after the 12 months of no energy production of the intent to maintain and reinstate the operation of that system.  The responsible party shall remove all equipment and facilities and restore the lot to its condition prior to the development of the system within one year of abandonment.

 

Sec. 42-692.  Building-mounted solar energy collectors.  These systems may be established as accessory uses to principal uses in all zoning districts subject to the following conditions.

 

(1)        Maximum height.  The maximum height in the zoning district in which the building-mounted solar energy collectors are located shall not be exceeded by more than three feet.

 

(2)        Obstruction.  Building-mounted solar energy collectors shall not obstruct solar access to adjacent properties.

 

Sec. 42-693.  Ground-mounted solar energy collectors.  These systems may be established as accessory uses to principal uses in all zoning districts subject to the following conditions.

 

(1)        Location.

 

            a.         Rear and side yards.  The unit may be located in the rear yard or the side yard but shall be subject to the setbacks for accessory structures.

 

            b.         Front yard.  The unit may be located in the front yard only if located no less than 150 feet from the front lot line.

 

(2)        Obstruction.  Ground-mounted solar energy collectors shall not obstruct solar access to adjacent properties.

 

(3)        Maximum number.  There shall be no more than one ground-mounted solar energy collector unit per principal building on a lot.

 

(4)        Maximum size.

 

            a.         Residential uses.  There shall be no more than one percent of the lot area up to 1,500 square feet of collector panels on a ground-mounted solar energy collector system.

 

            b.         Agricultural, commercial, and industrial uses.  There shall be no more than 10,000 square feet of collector panels on a ground-mounted solar energy collector system.

 

(5)        Maximum height.

 

            a.         Residential uses.  The maximum height shall be six feet, measured from the natural grade below the unit to the highest point at full tilt.

 

            b.         Agricultural, commercial, and industrial uses.  The maximum height shall be 16 feet, measured from the natural grade below the unit to the highest point at full tilt.

 

(6)        Minimum lot area.  A lot must have at least 82,500 square feet in lot area to establish a ground-mounted solar energy collector system.

 

(7)        Screening.  Screening shall be required in cases where a ground-mounted solar energy collector unit impacts views from adjacent residential properties. Screening methods may include the use of material, colors, textures, screening walls, and landscaping that will blend the unit into the natural setting and existing environment.

 

            Section 5.  Utility-Scale Solar Energy Collectors and Systems.  Article XI of Chapter 42 of the Fruitport Charter Township Code of Ordinances, concerning utility-scale energy collectors and systems, is added in its entirety as follows.

 

ARTICLE XI.  UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR ENERGY COLLECTORS

AND SYSTEMS

 

            Sec. 42-700.  Applicability.  This article applies to utility-scale solar energy collector systems and does not apply to small-scale solar energy collector systems primarily intended for on-site usage.

 

            Sec. 42-701.  General requirements.

 

            (1)        Applications.  An application for special use approval for a utility-scale solar energy collector system shall include a site plan in accordance with article V as well as meet all applicable special use criteria of article IV.  Additionally, applications must include equipment and unit renderings, elevation drawings, and distances from lot lines and adjacent structures as well as meet the criteria in this article.  No utility-scale solar energy collector system shall be installed or operated except in compliance with this article.

 

            (2)        Glare and reflection.  The exterior surfaces of solar energy collectors shall be generally neutral in color and substantially non-reflective of light.  A unit may not be installed or located so that sunlight or glare is reflected into dwellings on other lots or onto streets or private roads.

 

            (3)        Location.  Solar energy equipment shall be located in the area least visibly obtrusive to adjacent residential properties while remaining functional.

 

            (4)        Obstruction.  Solar energy collectors shall not obstruct solar access for other properties.

 

            (5)        Installation.

 

                        a.         A solar energy collector shall be permanently and safely attached to the ground.  Solar energy collectors, and their installation and use, shall comply with building codes, electrical codes, and other applicable township, county, state, and federal requirements.

 

                        b.         Solar energy collectors shall be installed, maintained, and used only in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions.  Upon request, a copy shall be submitted to the township prior to installation.

 

                        c.         The applicant shall certify that the construction and installation meet or exceed the manufacturer’s construction and installation standards.

 

            (6)        Power lines.  On site power lines between solar panels and inverters shall be placed underground.

 

            (7)        Energy storage system.  When an energy storage system is included as part of the solar energy collector system, the energy storage system must be placed in a secure temperature-controlled enclosure when in use.  When no longer in use, batteries must be properly disposed of in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.  The energy storage system shall prevent leaking into groundwater and shall be designed to present no unacceptable risk to human health or the natural environment.  An energy storage system must be part of a contiguous solar energy collector system which includes a ratio of at least 20 acres of collection for each acre of storage.

 

            (8)        Fire risk.  Fuel sources such as vegetation shall be removed from the immediate vicinity of electrical equipment and connections.

 

            (9)        Transportation plan.  A proposed access plan during construction and operational phases shall be provided.  The plan shall show proposed service road ingress and egress locations onto adjacent streets and the layout of the internal road system.

 

            (10)      Abandonment.  A solar energy collector system that ceases to produce energy on a continuous basis for 12 months will be considered abandoned unless the responsible party with ownership interest in the system provides substantial evidence to the township every six months after the 12 months of no energy production of the intent to maintain and reinstate the operation of that system.  The responsible party shall remove all equipment and facilities and restore the lot to its condition prior to the development of the system within one year of abandonment.

 

            (11)      Mitigation risk plan.  An application for a utility-scale solar energy collector system shall include a risk mitigation plan for review by the township.

 

            Sec. 42-702.  Utility-scale solar energy collector systems.  Utility-scale solar energy collector systems may be established as a special use only in the designated zoning districts, subject to the following requirements.

 

            (1)        Minimum setbacks.  The minimum setback for all yards shall be 100 feet; however, as a condition of approval, the township may require increased setbacks if it is determined that greater separation is necessary to adequately protect adjacent residents and property owners.

 

            (2)        Maximum height.  The maximum height of the system shall be 20 feet, measured from the natural grade below the unit to the highest point at full tilt.

 

            (3)        Minimum lot acreage.  The minimum lot area to establish a utility-scale solar energy collector system shall be 15 acres.

 

            (4)        Maximum noise.  Noise emanating from the solar energy collector system shall not exceed 50 decibels (dBA) as measured from any lot line of the lot on which the system is located.

 

            (5)        Screening.  A six feet tall opaque, unperforated fence shall be erected and maintained around the entire solar energy collector system.  Alternative screening may be approved by the Planning Commission during the site plan review process, if the Planning Commission finds that the alternative screening will be at least equally effective, or if the Planning Commission finds that the required screening can be changed without detriment to the Township or the owners, occupants, or visitors of other properties in the Township.

 

            (6)        Decommissioning.  A decommissioning plan signed by the responsible party and the land owner (if different) addressing the following shall be submitted prior to approval of a utility-scale solar energy collector system.  The plan shall include the following.

 

                        a.         Defined conditions upon which decommission will be initiated (e.g., end of land lease, no power production for 12 months, abandonment, etc.).

 

                        b.         Removal of utility-owned equipment and non-utility-owned equipment, which may include but not be limited to conduit, structures, fencing, solar panels, and foundations.

 

                        c.         Restoration of property condition which existed prior to the development of the system.

 

                        d.         Specification of the timeframe from completion of decommissioning activities.

 

                        e.         Description of any agreement (i.e., lease) with landowner regarding decommissioning, if applicable.

 

                        f.          Identity of the entity or individual responsible for decommissioning.

 

                        g.         Plans for updating the decommissioning plan.

 

                        h.         A performance guarantee shall be posted in the form of a bond, letter of credit, cash, or other form acceptable to the township to ensure removal upon abandonment.  As a part of the decommissioning plan, the responsible party shall provide at least two cost estimates from qualified contractors for full removal and disposal of equipment, foundations, and structures associated with the system.  These amounts will assist the township when establishing the initial performance guarantee amount.  The performance guarantee amount shall be valid throughout the lifetime of the system, and it shall be adjusted by the township every five years based upon at least two new cost estimates from qualified contractors obtained by the responsible party. Bonds and letters of credit shall be extended on a regular basis with expiration dates never less than two years from the annual anniversary of special use approval.

 

            (7)        Transfer of ownership.  Prior to a change in the ownership or operation of a solar energy collector system, including but not limited to the sale or lease of that system or the underlying property, the current owner or operator shall provide written notice to the township at least 60 days prior to that change becoming effective.  This notice shall inform the township of the intended transfer of control of the solar energy collector system or the underlying property, and shall include a copy of the instrument or agreement effecting that transfer.  Such an instrument or agreement shall include an express statement that the new owner or operator of the solar energy collector system or the underlying property shall not be permitted to operate that system until compliance with the terms of this chapter, including requirements for continuing security and escrow funds, has been established.

 

            Section 6.  Effective DateThis Ordinance was approved and adopted by the Township Board of Fruitport Charter Township, Muskegon County, on March 11,  2019, after a public hearing as required pursuant to Michigan Act 110 of 2006, as amended, and after introduction and a first reading on February 25, 2019, and publication after such first reading as required by Michigan Act 359 of 1947, as amended. This Ordinance shall be effective on April 3, 2019, which is the eighth day after publication as is required by Section 401 of Act 110, as amended, provided that the effective date shall be extended as necessary to comply with the requirements of Section 402 of Act 110, as amended