Solar Panel Moratorium

On February 6, 2017, Worthington City Council passed a 90 day moratorium on consideration of new applications for solar panels in the Architectural Review District by the Architectural Review Board. The moratorium will be in place until May 31, 2017, or earlier if amendments are made to the Design Guidelines or until Council revokes the moratorium.

Two inherent values of the Worthington community are to preserve the character of the Architectural Review District while promoting the sustainable practices of our residents and businesses. The purpose of the moratorium is to provide time to strike a balance and appropriately research, evaluate and discuss options that might address concerns about the visual impact of solar panels on the character of the District.

Click here to view enlarged Architectural Review District Map

ARD MAP
While the Architectural Review Guidelines currently allow solar panels in the District, there are differing opinions about where solar panels should be allowed.  The Guidelines currently allow solar panels to be placed in a location that minimizes the visual impact as seen from the public right-of-way. In addition, the Guidelines state: “Solar panels at another location on a building or site may be acceptable if their placement does not have an adverse effect on the architecture of the building, or the character of the site or Architectural Review District.” The goal is to provide clarity to residents and businesses prior to initiating the application process.

The moratorium will allow time for staff and City officials to thoughtfully and thoroughly research and review the impact of solar panel installations. It will also allow time to determine if and/or what changes should take place in the Design Guidelines to further clarify what should be allowed and the impacts on the character of the District.

Get Involved


There are a number of opportunities for residents to be informed and involved in the process: The following schedule has been proposed. Please note, the dates have changed slightly from the original schedule:

  • February 13th City Council Committee of the Whole meeting - Staff will present research findings related to how solar panels are regulated in the Worthington community in comparison to other cities in Ohio and the U.S. Staff will answer Council questions related to the findings. This is an informational meeting. No public comment is expected. However, City Council will provide the opportunity for people to submit written questions during the meeting.

    2-13-2017 Meeting - Audio from Solar Panel Discussion 
    Please note: the March 13th meeting date for public input referenced in the beginning of this recording was changed to March 20th during subsequent discussion.
    Presentation
    Community Comparison Research

  • Week of February 20th or February 27th - Staff will meet with interested parties to gather feedback, answer questions and discuss issues or concerns.
  • March 20th City Council meeting – (This meeting date has been changed from March 13th) The public will have the opportunity to provide comment and input.
  • April 10th City Council meeting - (This meeting date has been changed from April 3rd) City Council will discuss the findings of the research and the information collected through public input. If changes to the Design Guidelines or Ordinances are warranted, draft legislation will be introduced at a future meeting.

Background

In 2010, the City of Worthington proactively provided a framework through its Architectural Design Guidelines for sustainable features to be incorporated into the District. Successful solar projects followed with the installation of solar panels on buildings in the District, such as Evening Street Elementary School and the Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center. Since this time, there have been two residential solar applications in the District. The City has a long tradition of promoting sustainability initiatives including increased bike and pedestrian connections and access, community gardening, projects to promote recycling and re-purposing, and building efficiency projects.

Comments and questions can be directed to planning@ci.worthington.oh.us or Planning and Building Director Lee Brown at 614-431-2424.