City of Fenton, MO
St. Louis County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Section 464.010 Purpose.

[Ord. No. 3348 §1, 9-26-2013]
The purpose of this Section is to provide standards for the installation and use of solar energy systems as accessory uses. This Section seeks to protect properties from incompatible uses in the interest of property values, public health and the welfare of the community while promoting the use of alternative energy sources, where appropriate. This Section provides a process to facilitate the use of these systems in a manner that minimizes adverse impacts and the potential for nuisance.

Section 464.020 Definitions.

[Ord. No. 3348 §1, 9-26-2013]
As used in this Chapter, the following words shall mean:
BUILDING-INTEGRATED SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
A solar energy system that is an integral part of a principal or accessory building, rather than a separate mechanical device, replacing or substituting for an architectural or structural component of the building which contributes to the design of the building, including, but not limited to, photovoltaic or hot water solar systems contained within roofing materials, windows, skylights and awnings.
BUILDING-MOUNTED SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
A solar energy system affixed to either a principal or accessory structure on a lot.
GROUND-MOUNTED SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
A solar energy system that is not attached to another structure and is affixed to the ground.
SOLAR ENERGY COLLECTOR
The component of a solar energy system containing the flat plate or tube or other devices that absorb energy from the sun when exposed to sunlight.
SOLAR ENERGY EQUIPMENT
The solar energy collectors, electronics, disconnect, valves, and other appurtenances associated with a solar energy system.
SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
A building- or ground-mounted photovoltaic, hot air, or hot water collector device or other type of energy system, which relies upon solar radiation as the source for the generation of electricity, or transfer of stored heat.

Section 464.030 Accessory Use.

[Ord. No. 3348 §1, 9-26-2013]
Solar energy systems shall be considered a permitted accessory use in all zoning districts, subject to the provisions of this Section.

Section 464.040 Requirements.

[Ord. No. 3348 §1, 9-26-2013]
A. 
The requirements set forth in this Section shall govern the construction and/or installation of all solar energy systems:
1. 
Solar Energy Systems, General.
a. 
Solar energy collectors shall be located in the least visible location from perspectives outside the property lines where panels would be reasonably, though not necessarily optimally, functional.
b. 
Solar energy collectors shall be documented by the manufacturer as being non-reflective pursuant to recognized engineering standards showing reflectivity of less than thirty percent (30%) or shall be placed such that concentrated sunlight or glare shall not be directed onto nearby properties or streets.
c. 
Building-integrated solar energy systems shall be allowed regardless of visibility, provided the building-integrated system meets all required setback, height and land use requirements for the district in which the building is located.
2. 
Solar Energy Systems, Residential.
a. 
Ground-mounted solar energy systems.
i. 
Ground-mounted solar energy systems shall only be located in the side or rear yard of a property. Ground-mounted solar energy systems are not permitted in the front yard of a property.
ii. 
Ground-mounted solar energy systems must have a minimum five-foot setback from the rear lot line and maintain the same side setback as required for the zoning district in which they are located.
iii. 
Ground-mounted solar energy systems and supporting structures may not exceed a total height of ten (10) feet as measured from the average grade at the base of the supporting structure to the highest edge of the system.
iv. 
Collectively, all ground-mounted solar energy systems on the property shall not be greater than one-half (½) the square footage of the footprint of the principal structure or six hundred (600) square feet, whichever is greater.
v. 
Ground-mounted solar energy systems must be substantially screened from public view (including adjacent properties and public rights-of-way) by fencing, walls, plantings, or other architectural feature or any combination thereof; provided, however, that the screening shall not be required to be so dense, so tall, or so located as to render the equipment essentially non-functional.
b. 
Building-mounted solar energy systems.
i. 
Building-mounted solar energy collectors installed in residential zoning districts shall be:
1) 
Installed in the plane of the roof (flush mounted); or
2) 
Made part of the roof design (capping or framing compatible with the color of the roof or structure); or
3) 
A building-integrated system. Mounting brackets shall be permitted to be placed on the slope of a rear-facing roof if the applicant can demonstrate that the existing pitch of the roof would render the solar energy equipment ineffective or incapable of reasonable operation.
ii. 
When located on a sloped roof, solar energy collectors shall be located on a rear- or side-facing roof, as viewed from a fronting street. In cases of corner lots or lots with more than one (1) street frontage, the side roof fronting a street shall be considered a front-facing roof.
iii. 
Solar energy systems shall not project vertically above the peak of a sloped roof to which it is attached.
iv. 
When located on a sloped roof, solar energy collectors shall be positioned in a symmetrical fashion and centered on the plane of the roof on which they are located.
v. 
When located on a sloped roof, solar energy collectors shall be set back at least two (2) feet from any outside edge, ridge, or valley of the roof.
vi. 
All exterior electrical or plumbing lines must be painted in a color scheme that matches as closely as possible the color of the structure and the materials adjacent to the lines when visible from the street.
3. 
Solar Energy Systems, Non-Residential.
a. 
Ground-mounted solar energy systems.
i. 
Ground-mounted solar energy systems shall only be located in the side or rear yard of a property. Ground-mounted solar energy systems are not permitted in the front yard of a property.
ii. 
Ground-mounted solar energy systems must have a minimum five-foot setback from the rear lot line and maintain the same side setback as required for the zoning district in which they are located.
iii. 
Ground-mounted solar energy systems and supporting structures may not exceed a total height of twenty (20) feet as measured from the average grade at the base of the supporting structure to the highest edge of the system.
iv. 
Collectively, all ground-mounted solar energy systems located on the property shall not be greater than one-half (½) the square footage of the footprint of the principal structure.
v. 
Ground-mounted solar energy systems must be substantially screened from public view (including adjacent properties and public rights-of-way) by fencing, walls, plantings or other architectural feature or any combination thereof; provided, however, that screening shall not be required to be so dense, so tall or so located as to render the equipment essentially non-functional.
b. 
Building-mounted solar energy systems.
i. 
Building-mounted solar energy systems installed in non-residential zoning districts shall be installed:
1) 
In the plane of the roof (flush mounted); or
2) 
Made part of the roof design (capping or framing compatible with the color of the roof or structure); or
3) 
A building integrated system. Mounting brackets shall be permitted if the applicant can demonstrate that the existing pitch of the roof would render the solar energy equipment ineffective or incapable of reasonable operation.
ii. 
When located on a sloped roof, solar energy collectors shall be located on a rear- or side-facing roof, as viewed from a fronting street. In cases of corner lots or lots with more than one (1) street frontage, the side roof fronting a street shall be considered a front-facing roof.
iii. 
Solar energy systems shall not project vertically above the peak of a sloped roof to which it is attached.
iv. 
When located on a sloped roof, solar energy collectors shall be set back at least two (2) feet from any outside edge, ridge, or valley of the roof.
v. 
Solar energy collectors installed on a flat roof may exceed the height of the building up to five (5) feet.
vi. 
Solar energy collectors installed on the roof-top deck of parking facilities may exceed the height of the exterior wall of the structure up to twenty (20) feet if a minimum setback of five (5) feet from the outside face of the structure is provided.
vii. 
All exterior electrical or plumbing lines must be painted in a color scheme that matches as closely as possible the color of the structure and the materials adjacent to the lines when visible from the street.

Section 464.050 Permit Requirements.

[Ord. No. 3348 §1, 9-26-2013]
A building permit is required prior to the installation of any solar energy system. The owner of a solar energy system shall ensure that it is installed and maintained in compliance with applicable building, fire and safety codes adopted by the City and any other State or Federal agency of competent jurisdiction. All wiring associated with a renewable energy system shall be underground or contained within a raceway that complements the building materials of the principal structure.

Section 464.060 Abandonment.

[Ord. No. 3348 §1, 9-26-2013]
Any solar energy systems that are noticeably in disrepair without repair or restoration procedures substantially underway shall be removed from the property and the structure and/or site shall be restored.

Section 464.070 (Reserved)

Section 464.080 Alternative Compliance.

[Ord. No. 3348 §1, 9-26-2013]
In unusual circumstances arising from the unique location or character of the proposed site and/or surrounding land uses or structures, if site-specific alternative standards would provide results that are equal to or superior to those which would be provided by the standards in this Section, the Planning and Zoning Commission may approve an applicant's request for alternative standards if in the Commission's judgment the purpose of these regulations will be satisfied and the alternative standards will have no adverse impact on any other property or unreasonably disturb the peaceful occupancy of adjoining or nearby property.
A. 
Procedure. An application for alternative compliance standards shall be reviewed in accordance with the requirements for a special use permit, as set forth in Section 420.020 of this Title. The proposed alternative standards shall clearly identify and discuss the modifications and alternatives proposed and the ways in which the plan will better accomplish the intent of these design standards than would an approach which complies with the design standards of this Chapter.
B. 
Review Criteria. To approve an alternative approach, the Planning and Zoning Commission must find that the proposed alternative approach accomplishes the intent of these standards equally well or better than would an approach which complies with these standards and the alternative standards will have no adverse impact on any other property or unreasonably disturb the peaceful occupancy of adjoining or nearby property.