TROY — On Wednesday, Troy Planning Commission tabled a request from a homeowner in the Nottingham neighborhood to install solar panels until the homeowner receives permission from neighbors to move forward with the project.
An application was filed by Mark and Chrystal Gremling in the 800 block of Crossbow Lane; they were not present at the meeting. The application states that the owner’s wish is to place eight solar panels (140 square feet) on the south side of the roof of the garage. The home faces east, but the garage faces south, which is the best place for solar panels to be installed.
The city’s zoning code states “roof mounted systems shall be located so not to be visible from the public right-of-way fronting the property except as otherwise approved by Planning Commission.”
Commissioner and Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington asked zoning staff if neighbors were aware of the Gremlings’ plans due to the placement of the solar panels being visible from the public right-of-way.
Zoning staff Robert Watson said he was unaware of seeking neighbor permission. Titterington said it’s not a formal part of the zoning application, but a courtesy.
“I would certainly be interested in knowing what the neighbors to the south may think,” Titterington said.
Paul Gryniuk, a representative of Power Home Solar attended the meeting and fielded a variety of questions from the commission.
Gryniuk explained how the panels are installed flush to the roof and are non-reflective. Gryniuk said the homeowner’s cost to the utility company will be reduced by 40 percent and once the panels are paid for, the energy will be generated at no cost.
Commissioner Lynne Snee said she’d be interested in the neighbors’ opinion as well.
Commissioner Jim McGarry said he was concerned due to the boom of solar panel popularity following the gas crisis in the 1970s-80s. Wolke said in that time period, solar panels didn’t work well and people left them on the roof in disrepair and they became eyesores.
“They look great when they are first put out. I encourage people to do it; it’s a great idea. I’d hate to see it neglected and get like paint peeling on the house and they just leave it,” McGarry said.
Titterington noted a clause in the zoning code which addresses abandoned home accessories and their removal if needed.
Gryniuk explained the panels used in the ’70s and ’80s were made of more fragile materials meant for warmer climates like Florida and California. Gryniuk said the panels of today are more durable and can withstand 2-inch hail and even the weight of an armored truck — with video evidence. He said out of the million panels produced like the ones on the Gremling home, only 80 needed repairing and are covered by homeowner’s insurance and the company’s warranty.
All members of the commission supported the motion to table the request until further communication with the neighboring residents was obtained.
The commission also approved a request from Michael Fearon of Graves Fearon Agency for a wall sign at 405 Public Square.
The commission adjourned after no further action was made on two other tabled items including the city’s request for new banners on the Troy Masonic Temple building and a colored border at the top of the windows of Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop at 1 E. Main St.
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