Couple Challenges Sugar Grove Residential Solar Panel Restriction – WspyNews

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Mike Rayburn and Becky Brocker, a couple residing in Sugar Grove, Illinois, have launched a petition to amend the village’s zoning regulations to permit solar panels on all sides of residential rooftops. The current rules prohibit the installation of solar panels on the front-facing planes of homes, a restriction the couple argues unfairly impacts homeowners based on their property’s orientation. 

“The restriction banning solar panels on the front-facing planes of homes has a disparate impact on residents, depending on which way their homes face,” said Rayburn. “It is virtually impossible for a home with a two-plane roof where the front faces south or a home where the rear plane’s sun exposure is largely blocked by trees or other obstructions to have an effective solar system.” Brocker emphasized that homes with south-facing front roofs are most disadvantaged by the current regulation. “Residents who have houses with roofs where the front faces south are most negatively impacted by this restriction since they are unable to install panels on the south-facing planes of their roofs, which get the most sunlight exposure throughout the day.”

The couple contends that at least one of the village’s Government-run buildings, John Shields Elementary School in downtown Sugar Grove, feature solar panels on front-facing roofs, underscoring the inconsistency in the zoning code. Furthermore, Brocker says that Sugar Grove’s zoning code currently reflects the personal aesthetic preferences of a few, rather than the potential environmental and economic benefits many homeowners could get from investing in solar energy. According to Brocker, Sugar Grove and Kildeer are the only known municipalities in the area with such a restrictive solar panel policy. “Sugar Grove and Kildeer are the only municipalities we can find that have this type of solar panel restriction. North Aurora previously had the restriction and it was removed in the last four years.” 

As the demand for renewable energy sources continues to grow, the couple’s petition has reignited discussions around zoning regulations and their potential impact on residential solar adoption in Sugar Grove. The couple paid $765 to the village to propose the text amendment. In a straw poll at the last village board meeting, the trustees were tied 3:3 and the president indicated she plans to break the tie with a “no” vote. 

The board’s official vote will take place on April 16 at 6pm at 10 S. Municipal Dr. Supporters can sign up to speak during the public comments section of that meeting. Residents can also express their support by calling Village Administrator Scott Koeppel at 630-391-7205. 

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