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Ann Arbor working on ordinance allowing front yard solar panels

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Barbara Geilser and Maynard Kauffman stand in front of the solar panel next to their home, 11 miles away from Palisades.

Arbor Arbor residents with deep front yards may soon be permitted to put solar arrays in them.  

The city's planning manager, Brett Lenart, says some people think ground-mounted solar panels are unsightly -- but others welcome them as a sign of environmental progress.

So the planning commission aimed to strike a balance when developing recommendations for an ordinance.

People with enough room in the front yard for solar panels will have to hide the back and sides with hedges or fences if that's what the public would see.

"But when the panels are facing the public right of way there's no requirement to screen the panels," says Lenart.

Panels also can't be taller than six feet.

The recommendations now go to the city council to help in drafting an ordinance.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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