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					                             City of Piedmont
                      COUNCIL AGENDA REPORT
________________________________________________________________________

DATE:                          September 5, 2006

FROM:                          Kate Black, City Planner

SUBJECT:                First Reading of an Ordinance Amending Chapter 17
                        Regarding Solar Panels, and Resolution to waive
                        Building Permit fees for certain Solar Energy Systems
________________________________________________________________________


RECOMMENDATION:

1.      By motion, approve a first reading of Ordinance 666 N.S. (Exhibit A, page 4),
        which will amend Sections 17.20.4 (xviii) and 17.20.5.b. (viii), (ix), (x) and (xi)
        of Chapter 17, the Planning and Zoning Code; and

2.      By motion, approve the attached resolution (Exhibit B, page 11) to waive the
        Building Permit fee for solar energy system applications that propose to install the
        exterior solar equipment on non-street facing roof slopes.

INTRODUCTION:

In 2005, the State of California enacted new legislation that prevents cities from adopting
ordinances requiring design review for property owners who wish to install solar energy
systems on their properties. The new law is attached as Exhibit C, page 12.

BACKGROUND:

For many years, the City of Piedmont required design review of exterior solar energy
systems by either the Planning Commission or staff, depending on the scope and cost.
Both types of review required notice to neighbors, and permitted neighbors to express
support or concern about the project. More importantly, a site visit was made by either
the Commission or staff to evaluate the proposed exterior location of the equipment in the
context of neighboring properties, so it could be determined if there would be any
adverse impacts. The solar energy systems usually involve solar voltaic receptors (usually
called panels), conduit and other related physical equipment, and can be roof- mounted or
ground- mounted. The primary goal of the site and context evaluation was to determine
whether or not there might be too much glare reflecting off the surface of the panels into
living spaces of upslope residences or onto adjacent streets. Additionally, applicants were
routinely encouraged to install their panels on the rear roof slopes of their residences, so
the equipment would not be very visible from the street and adjacent side properties.




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In 2005, staff was unaware of the change in State law, but in an effort to streamline
application processing, modified the Zoning Code to eliminate from design review
applications proposing low-profile, non-reflective solar panels that are not visible from
any street, as this type of solar project rarely caused negative impacts, and were routinely
approved without neighbor objections. Only projects with reflective, high-profile panels
on street-facing roofs were still required to go through Administrative Design Review
with adjacent affected neighbor sign-off.

CHANGES CREATED BY THE NEW LAW:

Attached as Exhibit C, page 12, is the new legislation concerning solar energy systems
which staff was made aware of earlier this year. The new law states in part:

 “local agencies [shall] not adopt ordinances that create unreasonable barriers to the
 installation of solar energy systems, including, but not limited to, design review for
 aesthetic purposes. . . . A city or county shall administratively approve applications to
 install solar energy systems through the issuance of a building permit or similar
 nondiscretionary permit. . . . The requirements of local law shall be limited to those
 standards and regulations necessary to ensure that the solar energy system will not have a
 specific, adverse impact upon the public health or safety.”

Overall, it seems clear that the law is intended to prevent design review from becoming a
barrier to the construction of solar facilities. However, the language states that cities are
not permitted to adopt ordinances that require design review of solar equipment, but it
does not address whether cities that already have design review ordinances (as is the case
with Piedmont) can continue to apply them. There appear to be a few cities that seem to
be making that interpretation. However, the City Attorney feels that the language of the
law - although not drafted as well as it might have been – clearly intends to limit a
jurisdiction’s review of solar equipment to a ministerial review through a building permit.
The law provides that the permit cannot be denied unless the Building Official finds that
the solar energy systems would constitute a health and safety hazard.

When staff learned of the new legislation earlier this year, we contacted other cities to
find out how they were interpreting the new legislation. Initially, we found a number of
cities that were unaware of the new law, and in fact, it was our call that alerted them to it.
As indicated on the attached table (Exhibit D, page 15), many cities simply stopped
requiring design review for solar panels once they learned of the new law, but have not
yet amended their codes. Since learning of the new law, Piedmont staff also stopped
requiring design review of new solar equipment. However, in order to eliminate
confusion and provide Piedmonters with a code that complies with State law, staff
propose the attached code amendments (Exhibit A, page 4).

DESIGN ISSUES :

While most people would agree that regulations aimed at achieving energy conservation
are a good thing, there are likely to be Piedmonters who will be disappointed to see solar
panels being located on highly visible, street- facing roof slopes or yards. Given that staff


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will no longer be able to work with applicants through design review to make sure that
solar panels and related equipment are located so they are not visible from the street, staff
looked for another way that property owners might be encouraged to install their
equipment in less visible areas of their properties. To address this issue, staff is proposing
that for applicants who install solar equipment on non-street facing roof slopes and yards,
the building permit fee for the installation of the equipment be waived.

Coincidentally, the City recently received a request from the Sierra Club asking the City
to lower our Building Permit fees to encourage homeowners to install solar equipment
(Exhibit E, page 17). This change would be in line with their request since most solar
applicants will be able to install their proposed equipment in non-street facing locations,
and therefore, will not have to pay a permit fee at all. It would also be in keeping with the
language of the statute which states:

 “It is the intent of the Legislature that local agencies comply not only with the language of
 this section, but also the legislative intent to encourage the installation of solar energy
 systems by removing obstacles to, and minimizing costs of, permitting for such systems.”

While waiving the building permit fee for solar construction projects might serve as an
incentive to homeowners, it should not make much of a dent in the overall balance
between the City’s revenue from application fees, and the cost of providing inspection
services. Since 2001, the City has processed an average of 3 solar equipment applications
per year, with the average fee being $735. Even with an anticipated increase in
applications resulting from the recent dramatic rise in energy costs, the loss of revenue
from the building permits should not be more than $3,675 annually (5 applications per
year x $735). Compared against the total revenue from building permits in 2005, this
would result in .01% of the total revenue from permits.

CONCLUSION:

In order to comply with State law, staff is proposing to amend Chapter 17 to eliminate
design review as a requirement for applications seeking to install exterior solar energy
systems. To address the City’s long-standing goal of encouraging applicants to install
solar systems on non-street facing roof slopes and yards, staff is proposing that the
building permit fee be waived for applications that propose solar systems on structures
and yards that are not visible from a street. This should have a very slight impact on
building permit revenue, and may serve to minimize the visibility of solar equipment
from public streets.

Date report prepared: August 30, 2006

EXHIBITS :
Exhibit A, page 4      Ordinance No. 666 N.S. Amending Chapter 17
Exhibit B, page 11     Resolution Waiving Fees for Certain Projects
Exhibit C, page 12     Government Code Section 65850.5
Exhibit D, page 15     Table of City Responses to New Law
Exhibit E, page 17     Letter from Sierra Club


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                                                                                  EXHIBIT A

                                    ORDINANCE NO. 666 N.S.

     AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 17 OF THE MUNICIPAL CODE
                         REGARDING SOLAR PANELS
         (Changes are shown in strikethrough and italics formats in red type)

The City Council of the City of Piedmont hereby ordains:

SECTION 1.

It is the intent of the City Council in enacting this Ordinance to conform the city code to
state regulations regarding installation of solar panels.

SECTION 2

Sections 17.20.4 and 17.20.5 of the Piedmont Municipal Code are hereby revised as
follows:

“17.20.4:      Exceptions: Scope of Review.

         (a)    Exceptions Listed. The following shall be excepted from the requirements
of this section 17.20:

               (i)      Unless otherwise regulated by this City Code, interior remodeling
                        of existing buildings where the use of the property, number of
                        rooms eligible for use as a bedroom, and exterior form of the
                        building is unchanged; (Ord. No. 579 N.S., 9/96, Ord. 648 N.S.
                        6/04)

               (ii)     Fences that are no greater than six feet (6’) in height, not located in
                        a front or street-side setback of a corner or through lot, and
                        retaining walls retaining existing grade, that are less than thirty
                        inches (30”);
                        (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04, Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)

                (iii)   On-grade or below-grade improvements, including but not limited
                        to, walkways, patios and decks under 12 inches in height, irrigation
                        lines and drainage works, unless a variance for hardscape surface
                        coverage is required, or unless the improvement is a patio in the
                        front yard setback, or a new or enlarged driveway or parking pad
                        anywhere on the lot.
                         (Ord. No. 565 N S., 5/95; Ord. No. 579 N.S., 9/96, Ord. 648 N.S.
                        6/04, Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)




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(iv)     Normal repairs, replacement and maintenance of existing
         construction, so long as there is no change in the materials, design
         and size of the feature being repaired or replaced; (Ord. No. 562
         N.S., 3/95; Ord. No. 579 N.S., 9/96, Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04)

(v)      Minor construction related changes to previously approved plans
         which are architecturally compatible with approved new
         construction and existing construction, so long as the prior written
         approval of all affected neighbors has been obtained by the
         property owner and provided to the City Planner. (Ord. No. 562
         N.S., 3/95)

(vi)     A satellite dish less than one meter in diameter. (Ord. No. 562
         N.S., 3/95; Ord. 594 N.S. 11/17/97)

(vii)    A change in roof material, provided that the new roof material is
         not a light or reflective color or surface for the following changes:

         1.     Existing sloped roofs with wood shingles, wood shakes, tar
                and gravel or other granular material to composition
                shingles, or cap sheet to tar and gravel, provided that all
                sloped roofs for the entire house and detached structures
                are proposed to change. (Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)

         2.     Existing flat roofs with any material to tar and gravel, or
                other similar material such as modified bitumen with a
                granular surface, provided that exposed seams are covered
                with a granular surface.
                (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04)

(viii)   New or relocated electrical panels that are no greater than 200
         amps, gas meters or alarm boxes, provided that they are not located
         on the front wall, street- facing side wall, or area of a side wall
         containing the front door; and such meters, boxes, panels, exposed
         lines, and exposed conduit are painted to match the structure color.
         (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04)


(ix)     The complete demolition and/or removal of (a.) outdoor features
         including fences, secondary structures, pools, decks, patios,
         awnings, greenhouses, storage sheds, solar panels and equipment,
         and exterior lighting not required by the Piedmont Building Code;
         (b.) non-original decorative architectural elements such as shutters
         and flower boxes; and (c.) exterior architectural elements including
         chimneys, skylights, vents, chases, stacks, and conduit, provided
         that the area is patched and painted to match the adjacent wall,
         eave, or roof material. (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04, Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)


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 (x)     The installation of downward-directed low voltage path lights and
         stair lights, and downward-directed wall lights required by the
         Piedmont Building Code of a maximum 60 watts, that have an
         opaque shade that completely covers the light bulb. (Ord. 648 N.S.
         6/04)

(xi)     The construction of mailboxes and non-structural decorative
         elements such as flower boxes, house numbers and mail-slots. (Ord.
         648 N.S. 6/04)

(xii)    New or relocated non-structural portable barbeques, bird baths and
         fountains that do not require electricity, gas or plumbing. (Ord. 648
         N.S. 6/04)

(xiii)   New or relocated copper gutters and downspouts and other wood or
         metal gutters and downspouts that are painted to match the existing
         structure or trim color. (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04, Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)

(xiv)    New or relocated low-profile flues, vents and spark arrestors that
         are mounted on the wall or roof, not including wall- mounted
         plumbing lines or stacks, that ha ve no exterior fans or blowers,
         provided that the vents/flues/spark arrestors project less than 12
         inches and are painted to match the adjacent wall, roof or chimney
         color. Roof- mounted attic or ridge vents may be covered in the
         matching roof material in lieu of painting. (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04, Ord.
         662 N.S. 1/06)

(xv)     New or relocated crawl space access doors that are not full height,
         and pet doors, not located on the front wall of a house that are
         painted to match the house color. (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04, Ord. 662
         N.S. 1/06)

(xvi)    The replacement of existing “bubble” skylights with flat-profile
         skylights, provided that there is no change in size or location. (Ord.
         648 N.S. 6/04, Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)

(xvii) New or replacement flooring material on decks, balconies, patios,
       stairs, and entry porches and stairs, provided that the entire surface
       is replaced. (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04, Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)

(xviii) New or modified non-reflective roof- mounted solar panel, such as
        photovoltaic roof tiles, that project less than 12 inches (12”) from
        the roof surface, provided that they are not located on any street-
        facing roof slope, or are located behind a parapet on a flat roof, and
        are not visible from any street or roadway. (Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)



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                       Solar energy systems and related equipment.

              (xix)    Modifications to prior approvals that otherwise are not regulated by
                       this Chapter, subject to the approval of the Director of Public
                       Works.

       (b)     Fees. Except when there is no change whatsoever in design, a review fee
               shall be collected for improvements described in sections 17.20.4(a), along
               with a building permit fee. The amount of the review fee shall be
               determined by the City Council from time to time. (Ord. No. 579 N.S.,
               9/96, Ord. 635 N.S. 1/03)

        17.20.5:       Administrative Design Review Approval. A project subject to
design review under Section 17.20.2 shall nevertheless be approved, approved with
conditions, or denied without notice and hearing by the Director of Public Works if the
Director of Public Works finds that the change in design is so insubstantial that there is
no foreseeable effect on the public welfare, and the project is one of the listed projects
below. Findings shall be made for each of the three standards of Section 17.20.9 to
approve the design of a project under this Section 17.20.5. Any applicant may appeal any
action of the Director of Public Works as provided in Section 17.25. (Ord. 615 N.S. 3/00;
Ord. 635 N.S. 1/03)

       (a)     Projects Not Requiring Adjacent Neighbor Sign-Off. The following
       projects may be approved without neighborhood notification or appeal, provided
       the project meets each of the three standards of Section 17.20.9(a) and is found to
       be in compliance with the criteria in the Residentia l Design Review Guidelines
       and approved city policies. At the discretion of the Director of Public Works,
       such application pursuant to this section may be deferred to the Staff Design
       Review process under 17.20.7:

               (i)      The removal of a window or door, or the reduction in size of a
                        window or door within the existing opening, provided that the wall
                        is patched and painted to match the surrounding wall; (Ord. 648
                        N.S. 6/04, Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)


               (ii)     New chimney tie-downs, seismic bracing, and caps, provided that
                        such bracings and caps are painted to match the structure walls,
                        chimney or roof color; (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04)


               (iii)    New or relocated gas meters, alarm boxes, and electrical panels
                        that are no greater than 200 amps, proposed on the front wall,
                        street-facing side wall, or area of a side wall containing a front
                        door, provided they are painted to match the structure color; (Ord.
                        648 N.S. 6/04)


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      (iv)    New or modified handrails on existing stairs and handrails on new
              or renovated on- grade stairs; (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04)

      (v)     Changes to deck or stair railings to meet the current California
              Building Code, such as adding stiles to meet the minimum spacing
              requirement or increasing the height to meet the required minimum
              height, provided that there is no significant change in materials or
              design; (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04)

      (vi)    The replacement of an existing feature not involving a change in
              size or location, such as a window, door, and garage door
              replacement, and the installation of a new garage door for a garage
              that does not currently have one; and (Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)

      (vii)   Temporary handicap features such as wheelchair ramps, to
              accommodate handicapped and disabled residents for a period of
              up to one year. (Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)

      (viii) Other very minor changes to a structure subject to the approval of
             the Director of Public Works, provided that the change is very
             minor or is minor and not permanent. (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04)

      (ix)    Modifications to prior approvals for projects that are eligible for
              Administrative Design Review without neighbor sign-off. (Ord.
              662 N.S. 1/06)

(b)   Projects Requiring Adjacent Neighbor Sign-Off. The following projects
      may be approved without neighborhood notification or appeal, provided
      that prior written approval of the property owners of all adjacent affected
      properties has been obtained by the applicant and submitted as part of the
      application, and provided that the project meets each of the three standards
      of Section 17.20.9(a) and is found to be in compliance with the criteria in
      the Residential Design Review Guidelines and approved city policies. If
      the applicant is not able to obtain adjacent affected property owner sign-
      off, or at the discretion of the Director of Public Works, such application
      pursuant to this section shall be ineligible for Administrative Design
      Review, and shall instead be subject to the provisions of the Staff Design
      Review process under 17.20.7:

      (i)     Minor design revisions to previously approved staff or Planning
              Commission design review applications including minor window
              changes (size, location, design); minor door changes (such as
              sliding to French); landscape material changes; the elimination of a
              feature previously approved (such as a window or exterior light
              fixture); the retention of an existing feature that was previously
              proposed to be removed (such as a window or exterior light


                                     8
         fixture), provided that the change is limited to a feature or aspect
         of the prior approval, and provided that there is no increase in
         structure coverage, hardscape surface coverage, or floor area ratio;
         (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04, Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)

(ii)     Chimney extensions and minor chimney modifications not
         involving significant design or materials changes to meet the
         requirements of the California Building Code; (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04)

(iii)    Landscape lighting not otherwise regulated by this chapter,
         including up- lights, entry lights and wall or fence-mounted lights,
         and any other exterior lighting (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04)

(iv)     New, relocated or enlarged driveways and parking pads. (Ord. 648
         N.S. 6/04)

(v)      Storage structures not located in required setbacks or otherwise
         exempt from a building permit pursuant to Section 5.2.2 of the
         City Code. (Ord. 635 N.S. 1/03)

(vi)     Minor modifications to existing decks, such as a new railing or
         stair design, not involving a change in deck size; (Ord. 648 N.S.
         6/04)

(vii)    New flat-profile skylights that project less than 12 inches provided
         that they are not located on any street-facing roof slope, or are
         located behind a parapet on a flat roof, and are not visible from any
         street or roadway; and (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04, Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)

(viii)   New or modified solar panels not otherwise regulated by this
         Chapter; (Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)

(ix)     New or relocated walls, fences or a combination of wall and fence
         greater than six feet (6’) in height but no more than eight feet (8’)
         in height, provided that the wall or fence are not located within the
         front yard setback, street side yard setback or rear yard setback of a
         through lot.
         (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04, Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)

(x)      New or modified roof- mounted solar panels that are reflective but
         project less than 12 inches (12”) from the roof surface, provided
         that they are not located on any street-facing roof slope, or are
         located behind a parapet on a flat roof, and are not visible from any
         street or roadway. (Ord. 662 N.S. 1/06)

(xi)(ix) Other very minor changes to a structure subject to the approval of
         the Director of Public Works, provided that the change is very


                                9
                       minor, or is minor and not permanent. (Ord. 648 N.S. 6/04, Ord.
                       662 N.S. 1/06)


SECTION 3

       This Ordinance shall be posted at City Hall after its second reading by the City
Council for at least thirty (30) days and shall become effective thirty (30) days after the
second reading.




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                                                                             EXHIBIT B

                            RESOLUTION NO. ______-06

                     A Resolution Waiving Building Permit Fees
                      On Installation Of Solar Energy Systems
                           Under Certain Circumstances


Resolved, pursuant to Section 5.2.5 of the Piedmont City Code which provides for
establishing fees by the City Council and pursuant to the City of Piedmont Permit Fee
Schedule, the City Council hereby amends such Permit Fee Schedule as follows:

              (a) For installation of any solar energy systems on non-street facing roof
                  slopes and yards, the normal building permit fee shall be waived.




                                           11
                                                                        EXHIBIT C

        NEW (CURRENT) STATE LAW REGULATING SOLAR PANELS
                         (Government Code)

65850.5. (a) The implementation of consistent statewide standards
to achieve the timely and cost-effective installation of solar energy
systems is not a municipal affair, as that term is used in Section 5
of Article XI of the California Constitution, but is instead a
matter of statewide concern. It is the intent of the Legislature
that local agencies not adopt ordinances that create unreasonable
barriers to the installation of solar energy systems, including, but
not limited to, design review for aesthetic purposes, and not
unreasonably restrict the ability of homeowners and agricultural and
business concerns to install solar energy systems. It is the policy
of the state to promote and encourage the use of solar energy systems
and to limit obstacles to their use. It is the intent of the
Legislature that local agencies comply not only with the language of
this section, but also the legislative intent to encourage the
installation of solar energy systems by removing obstacles to, and
minimizing costs of, permitting for such systems.

   (b) A city or county shall administratively approve applications
to install solar energy systems through the issuance of a building
permit or similar nondiscretionary permit. Review of the application
to install a solar energy system shall be limited to the building
official's review of whether it meets all health and safety
requirements of local, state, and federal law. The requirements of
local law shall be limited to those standards and regulations
necessary to ensure that the solar energy system will not have a
specific, adverse impact upon the public health or safety. However,
if the building official of the city or county has a good faith
belief that the solar energy system could have a specific, adverse
impact upon the public health and safety, the city or county may
require the applicant to apply for a use permit.

  (c) A city or county may not deny an application for a use permit
to install a solar energy system unless it makes written findings
based upon substantial evidence in the record that the proposed
installation would have a specific, adverse impact upon the public
health or safety, and there is no feasible method to satisfactorily
mitigate or avoid the specific, adverse impact. The findings shall
include the basis for the rejection of potential feasible
alternatives of preventing the adverse impact.

 (d) The decision of the building official pursuant to subdivisions



                                            12
(b) and (c) may be appealed to the planning commission of the city
or county.

  (e) Any conditions imposed on an application to install a solar
energy system shall be designed to mitigate the specific, adverse
impact upon the public health and safety at the lowest cost possible.

  (f) (1) A solar energy system shall meet applicable health and
safety standards and requirements imposed by state and local
permitting authorities.

  (2) A solar energy system for heating water shall be certified by
the Solar Rating Certification Corporation (SRCC) or other nationally
recognized certification agency. SRCC is a nonprofit third party
supported by the United States Department of Energy. The
certification shall be for the entire solar energy system and
installation.

  (3) A solar energy system for producing electricity shall meet all
applicable safety and performance standards established by the
National Electrical Code, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers, and accredited testing laboratories such as Underwriters
Laboratories and, where applicable, rules of the Public Utilities
Commission regarding safety and reliability.

  (g) The following definitions apply to this section:

  (1) "A feasible method to satisfactorily mitigate or avoid the
specific, adverse impact" includes, but is not limited to, any
cost-effective method, condition, or mitigation imposed by a city or
county on another similarly situated application in a prior
successful application for a permit. A city or county shall use its
best efforts to ensure that the selected method, condition, or
mitigation meets the conditions of subparagraphs (A) and (B) of
paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) of Section 714 of the Civil Code.

  (2) "Solar energy system" has the same meaning set forth in
paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 801.5 of the
Civil Code.

  (3) A "specific, adverse impact" means a significant,
quantifiable, direct, and unavoidable impact, based on objective,
identified, and written public health or safety standards, policies,
or conditions as they existed on the date the application was deemed
complete.




                                             13
65851. For such purposes the legislative body may divide a county,
a city, or portions thereof, into zones of the number, shape and area
it deems best suited to carry out the purpose of this chapter.

65852. All such regulations shall be uniform for each class or kind
of building or use of land throughout each zone, but the regulation
in one type of zone may differ from those in other types of zones.




                                            14
                                                                                         EXHIBIT D

      TABLE OF HOW OTHER CITIES ARE ADDRESSING NEW STATE LAW

City - Solar Equipment Background

Atherton - The only design review in Atherton is planning commission review. Solar panels are
seen as accessory structures, will only deny if solar panels will cause building height to exceed
the maximum of 30'. Impacts on neighbors are attempted to be mitigated during the over the
counter permit process. Solar panels are revie wed on a case by case basis.


Belvedere - City interpreted new law as not permitted to impose stricter regulations than what
already exists, or to make it more difficult to install, and cannot prevent the installation of solar
panels. Cannot make the process more rigorous or expensive than prior to the State law. DR
required, then building (electrical) permit. No intention of changing ordinance.


Carmel - City was unaware of new law. Still are reviewing solar panels administratively as they
would review skylights, no intention of revising ordinances.


Lafayette - Recently changed the code so no DR required for projects pertaining to solar panels,
but site/project based reviews, i.e. Hillside developments will trigger DR on solar panels because
of potential impacts on aesthetics/ design as a whole.


Larkspur - Planning department sign-off is required before issuing building permit. Design
review is required if height of solar panels exceed 3' off the roof. Larkspur is mostly concerned
with building height in general. They are currently proposing to amend code criteria to make
solar panels more permissive by adding a Solar energy systems guideline.


Monterey - Prior to state law, the planning department already encouraged the installation of
solar energy as long as it is not installed on front roof slope. "Non-discretionary permits" from
state law 65850.5(b) is clearly interpreted by Monterey as excluding design review. Since
January, they no longer review solar panels and passed it onto the building department. They now
only required a building permit. No written memos or staff reports recording the transition, just
an internal staff meeting.


Moraga - Used to require design review prior to the state law. Eliminated design review early
this year. Made change by memo to Lamorinda Building Department.


Orinda - Used to require DR for solar panels, but since State law was passed, Orinda decided to
internally comply by no longer requiring design review on solar panels. No memos or reports
followed the elimination of the design review process.



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Sausalito - Until recently, did not know about State law, but only did design review if roof
height was raised by solar panel. Now they only require building permit for solar panels.


Tiburon - City used to require design review, but since state law passed the process is eliminated
and only a building permit is required. No written record accounting for the change in process.




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