Court Upholds Ruling in Solar Panel Lawsuit
The Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the 2012 judgment in a case brought by the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association (MOSEIA) and homeowners James and Frances Babb involving the installation of solar panels at the Babbs’ residence in Clarkson Valley, Missouri.
“We are pleased with the ruling,” said Dane Glueck, President of MOSEIA. Glueck added, “While the Court ruled that a local government may impose local requirements on solar systems, the Court made it clear that such additional local requirements cannot make the construction of a residential system impossible or unreasonably restrictive.”
“This has been a long process,” said James Babb. Babb added, “We hope that other communities will recognize the benefits of solar.”
The Babbs first submitted a routine application for a building permit for their proposed solar system to Clarkson Valley on November 1, 2011. Instead of approving the application, the City’s Board of Aldermen imposed a “moratorium” and then later enacted two ordinances imposing additional requirements on residential solar systems and requiring applicants to obtain a special use permit. After the Babbs’ application for a special use permit was approved by the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission, the Clarkson Valley Board of Aldermen then denied the application on March 6, 2012 by a 6-0 vote without any explanation.
“The underlying lawsuit was filed in Cole County Circuit Court because the Missouri Public Service Commission, which had adopted State rules regarding solar systems, was a party to the litigation,” said Steve Jeffery, an attorney in St. Louis, who represents MOSEIA and the Babbs.
“In November 2008, 67% of Missouri voters approved Proposition C, the renewable energy standard,” said Glueck, “and we look forward to continue to work with local governments in recognizing the strengths and benefits of solar systems.”
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