By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Coalhurst council has passed first reading of Bylaw 445-23, which includes amendments to the Land Use Bylaw (LUB) 354-12.
Discussion took place during the Oct. 3 regular council meeting.
The proposed changes seek to redefine uses and updates definitions regarding renewable energy development within the LUB.
With respect to Bylaw 445-23, it proposes updates to the Town’s current review and permit process regarding renewable energy systems.
Administration explained that data shows the acceptance and uptake of solar energy development continues to trend upwards in Coalhurst.
According to the report, the development of solar energy for use within individual households is typically implemented to supplement power usage on-site and divert surplus energy to the power grid for a fee.
In 2012, “alternative energy system, individual” was incorporated into the LUB as a discretionary use, and thus necessitated that adjacent landowners be notified in the event a landowner was seeking approval for use which falls under a “discretionary use” as per the LUB. This also means the final decision falls under the authority of the Municipal Subdivision and Development Authority (MSDA).
As per the report to council, administration noted the majority of applications submitted to the MSDA for consideration have involved the installation of roof-mounted solar panels, of which no concerns or comments have been received from the Town from adjacent landowners.
Proposed changes to the LUB relate to Schedule 2 and include the removal of “alternative energy system, individual” as a discretionary use, and that the bylaw be amended to adopt “Solar energy system, individual – roof or wall mounted” as a permitted use in land zoned as residential, public institutional, and transitional. Further, that changes to the Land Use Districts be amended to include “Solar energy system, individual – ground mounted” as a discretionary use within non-residential parcels; and that Schedule 2 be amended to include “wind energy conversion system, individual” as a discretionary use to the Residential parcels.
Contained within the proposed amendments was also a recommendation to delete the definition of “Alternative energy system, individual” and instead adopt “Solar energy system, individual – roof or wall mounted”, “Solar energy system, individual – ground mounted” and “Wind energy conversion system, individual,” to provide for greater clarity on the nature of an alternative energy system for individual use.
The report includes updated language and definitions for the schedule’s additions.
The report noted these amendments were developed and proposed to streamline the development process.
Council subsequently passed a resolution to pass first reading of Bylaw 445-23, Amendment to Land Use Bylaw 354-12. Consideration of second and if applicable, third readings of the bylaw will be considered at an upcoming council meeting, date to be determined.