Chapter 17.99
RENEWABLE ENERGY

(Zoning Ordinance Amendment 09-02, adopted by City Council November 4, 2009.)

17.99.010 Co-located Small Wind Energy Systems (CSWES)

A.    Purpose and intent

It is the intent of these regulations to permit Co-located Small Wind Energy Systems (CSWES) as an accessory use in the C-2 (Office Commercial), C-3 (General Commercial), C-4 (Commercial Center), C-5 (Service Commercial), M-1 (Light Industrial), M-2 (General Industrial), M-3 (Airport Industrial), and M-4 (Planned Industrial) zone districts. It is the purpose of these regulations to ensure that alternative energy systems are available in the City of Palmdale, and that they are installed and co-located in a manner that avoids hazards to public health and safety, minimizes adverse aesthetic impacts, and ensures compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood.

B.    Definitions

Co-located Small Wind Energy System (CSWES) shall mean a wind energy conversion system that is located on a pole with site lighting below the turbine, which has a rated capacity of 8kW or less.

Temporary Meteorological Tower (met tower) shall mean a temporary structure which includes the tower, base plate, anchors, guy cables and hardware, anemometers, (wind speed indicators), wind direction vanes, booms to hold equipment anemometers and vanes, data logger, instrument wiring, and any telemetry devices that are used to monitor or transmit wind speed and wind flow characteristics over a period of time for either instantaneous wind information or to characterize the wind resource at any given location.

Co-Located Wind Energy System Height shall mean the vertical distance from ground level to the tip of the wind generator blade when it is at its highest point.

C.    Development Standards

Installation of Co-located Small Wind Energy Systems (CSWES) where permitted as an accessory use subject to administrative review by a Minor Modification application, shall be constructed in the following manner:

1.    Minimum parcel size. Developments of a minimum of 20 acres or more with parking lot light fixtures at a minimum of 25 feet in height.

2.    Setbacks. Co-located Small Wind Energy Systems shall meet the following setbacks:

a.    A distance equal to the tower height from any abutting private properties that are not part of the development.

b.    A distance equal to the tower height from any overhead utility lines, unless written permission is granted by the affected utility.

c.    A distance equal to 150 feet from any property that is residentially used or designated.

3.    Noise. Co-located Small Wind Energy Systems shall meet the following criteria with respect to noise:

a.    A site-specific noise study or the manufacture’s engineered sound studies shall be submitted for review and the decibel level shall comply with the Noise Element of the General Plan.

b.    Decibel levels for each unit shall not exceed 65 decibels (dBA) as measured at the property line except during short-term events such as utility outages and severe windstorms.

4.    Aesthetics. Co-located Small Wind Energy Systems shall meet the following criteria with respect to aesthetics:

a.    All proposed replacement poles for a CSWES system shall be of the same design, shape and color as the remaining light poles throughout the parking lot.

b.    The wind turbine housing and the blades of the CSWES system shall not be brightly colored. The turbine housing should be white, sky colored, or should coordinate with the color palette approved for the project buildings.

c.    The physical size of the turbine shall not extend beyond 36 inches from the center of the pole.

d.    The maximum diameter of the blades shall not exceed 16 feet.

5.    Access.

a.    All ground mounted electrical and control equipment shall be labeled and secured to prevent unauthorized access.

b.    The pole shall be designed and installed so as to not provide step bolts or a ladder.

6.    Lighting.

a.    A Co-located Small Wind Energy System (CSWES) shall not be illuminated unless such lighting is required by the Federal Aviation Administration. A light temporarily used to inspect a turbine, tower and associated equipment is permissible, providing said light is only used for inspection purposes and not left on for an extended period of time. All sites that are part of a CSWES shall comply with PMC 17.86.030.

b.    The height of the light fixture on the structure itself shall not be altered from its original height as previously permitted or as permitted by the reviewing authority when co-locating a CSWES in a parking lot.

c.    All light fixture poles, including collocated poles, shall be consistent in design and color throughout the development.

d.    A revised photometric plan shall be submitted for review for compliance with PMC 17.86.030(K) when modifications to existing site lighting is proposed.

7.    Height. Co-located Small Wind Energy Systems shall meet the following criteria with respect to height:

a.    The maximum CSWES Height shall be sixty (60) feet at the highest point with one of the blades at its highest vertical point.

b.    The maximum height of the center of the turbine shall not exceed 53 feet.

c.    The maximum diameter of the blades from the lowest point to the highest point shall not exceed 16 feet.

8.    Temporary meteorological (Met) towers shall be permitted under the same standards as those for a CSWES facility. Approval for a temporary met tower shall be valid for a maximum of 30 days.

9.    Signs. All signs, other than the manufacturer’s or installer’s identification, appropriate warning signs shall be prohibited.

10.    Building Permit. Applicable building permits shall be required for a CSWES.

11.    The system shall comply with all applicable Federal Aviation Administration requirements, including but not limited to Subpart B (commencing with Section 77.11) of Part 77 of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations regarding installations close to airports. These regulations apply to any installation within 20,000 feet of an airport and exceeding specific heights based on specific FAA and airport parameters.

12.    If the CSWES use has been determined by the Planning Director or his or her designee to be inoperative or abandoned for a period of six (6) months, the CSWES shall be removed, unless a new application to re-establish the use is filed with the City. The City may remove an abandoned facility, repair any and all damage to the premises caused by such removal, and otherwise restore the premises as in appropriate to be in compliance with applicable code at any time: 1) after ninety (90) days following a notice of abandonment, or 2) following a notice of decision by the Director of Planning, subject to the owner/operator’s right of appeal under the City of Palmdale Municipal Code. The City may, but shall not be required to, store the removed facility, or any part thereof. The owner of the premises upon which the abandoned facility was located, and all prior operators of the facility, shall be jointly liable for the entire cost of such removal, repair, restoration and storage, and shall remit payment to the City promptly after demand therefore is made. The City may, in lieu of storing the removed facility, convert it to the City’s use, sell it, or dispose of it in any manner deemed by the City to be appropriate.

D.    Review Process

Co-located Small Wind Energy Systems (CSWES) shall be permitted as an Accessory Use when permitted in the zoning district subject to Administrative Approval pursuant to PMC 17.26.040, Minor Modification, or as permitted by the reviewing authority when co-locating a CSWES in a parking lot.

A temporary meteorological tower shall be permitted subject to Administrative Approval pursuant to PMC 17.26.040, Minor Modification, for a period not to exceed 30 days as stated in PMC 17.99.010(C)(7).

E.    Submittal Requirements

The applicant shall submit the information required by the appropriate application form, including but not limited to the following information.

Applications for a CSWES shall include the following items:

1.    Site Plan

a.    Property lines and physical dimensions of the subject property;

b.    Location, dimensions, and types of existing major structures on the property;

c.    Location of the proposed CSWES units including, foundations and associated equipment;

d.    Proposed CSWES elevation drawings,

e.    The right-of-way of any public road that is contiguous with the property;

f.    Any overhead utility lines;

g.    A site specific noise study; and

h.    A photometric plan if existing lighting is being modified.

2.    A perspective rendering from any abutting public way if the CSWES is visible from said public way.

3.    Specifications of the CSWES including manufacturer and model, rotor diameter, and proposed pole height.

4.    Typical pole foundation specifications or drawings from the wind turbine manufacturer.

17.99.020 Solar Facilities

(Zoning Ordinance Amendment 11-03, adopted by City Council December 7, 2011.)

A.    Purpose and Intent

It is the intent of these regulations to permit Small-Scale Solar Energy Systems without Planning Department approval within all zone districts provided a permitted primary use exists and Utility-Scale Solar Facilities as a primary use within the M-1 (Light Industrial), M-2 (General Industrial), M-4 (Planned Industrial), PF (Public Facilities) and QR (Quarry and Reclamation) zone districts. It is the purpose of these regulations to ensure that alternative energy systems are available in the City of Palmdale, and that they are sited and installed in a manner that avoids hazards to the public health and safety while minimizing adverse aesthetic impacts to the maximum extent possible.

B.    Definitions

Small-Scale Solar Energy System shall mean a solar energy system consisting of one or more roof mounted and/or ground mounted solar collector devices and solar related equipment. A small-scale system is intended to primarily reduce on-site consumption of utility power but may include solar power generated for purchase by a utility provider, provided that the generating facilities and any appurtenant equipment remain accessory to the primary use and structure(s).

Utility-Scale Solar Power Generating Facility shall mean a facility where solar energy generation for the purpose of sales of generated electricity is the principal use. Utility-scale solar generating facilities consist of one or more free-standing ground mounted solar collector devices, solar related equipment and other accessory structures and buildings including substations, electrical infrastructure, transmission lines and other appurtenant structures and facilities.

C.    Small-Scale Solar Energy Systems

Small-Scale Solar Energy System shall be permitted as of right within any zone district pursuant to Government Code Section 65850.5.

D.    Utility-Scale Solar Power Generating Facilities

1.    Supplemental Information Required

Permit application for all utility-scale solar power generating facilities shall be accompanied by the following supplemental materials, unless waived by the Director of Planning:

a.    A plan for the on-going security and inspection of the facility as applicable, which may include but not be limited to provisions for fencing, anti-climb devices, and monitoring, to prevent unauthorized access and vandalism.

b.    A plan for permanent dust control of the site post construction.

2.    Development Standards

In addition to compliance with all other applicable statutes, ordinance, regulations and policies, the following regulations shall apply to all utility-scale solar power generating facilities as permitted under this Chapter:

a.    Setbacks

(i)    Setbacks shall be those specified for structures within the respective zone district.

(ii)    Solar support structures shall not be permitted in any front or street side yard.

(iii)    No minimum landscape setback along any public or private street frontage shall be required within any industrial zone located between Avenue L and Avenue M between 30th Street East and 120th Street East, between Avenue M and Avenue P-8, between 90th Street East and 120th Street East or within the QR (Quarry and Reclamation) zone.

(iv)    No transition zone setback pursuant to PMC 17.83.030(A) or transition zone landscaping pursuant to PMC 17.83.030(C) shall be required for within any industrial zone located between Avenue L and Avenue M between 30th Street East and 120th Street East, between Avenue M and Avenue P-8, between 90th Street East and 120th Street East or within the QR (Quarry and Reclamation) zone.

(v)    Where transition zone landscaping is required pursuant to PMC 17.83.030(C), the number and types of trees required may be modified at the discretion of the Director of Planning and the City Engineer where there is the potential for shading of solar panels.

b.    Height

The maximum height of any structure shall be that as specified for principal structure within the respective zone district.

c.    Glare

Solar panels shall be placed such that concentrated solar radiation or glare is not directed onto nearby properties, including U.S. Air Force Plant 42, other airport related, or roadways.

d.    Security Fencing

Utility-scale solar facilities shall be enclosed by an eight foot high fence for security purposes. The reviewing authority may approve: 1) chain link fencing within any industrial zone located between Avenue L and Avenue M between 30th Street East and 120th Street East, between Avenue M and Avenue P-8, between 90th Street East and 120th Street East or within the QR (Quarry and Reclamation) zone or 2) wrought iron fencing within any other zone in which utility-scale solar power generating facilities are permitted. Chain link or wrought iron fencing may be permitted by the reviewing authority based upon a finding that no adverse visual or aesthetic impacts will occur and the material is compatible with the surrounding area. This determination shall be made as part of the development review process. Under no circumstances shall razor, barbed, concertina wire, or electrified fencing be permitted.

e.    Lighting

Security lighting shall be consistent with the requirements of PMC 17.86.070, including shielding from adjacent properties, lighting be directed downward with full cut-off features to reduce light pollution.

f.    Signage

One (1) project identification sign, located at each point of project ingress and egress, not to exceed fifty (50) square feet in area and five (5) feet in height, may be erected on the project site. No other signs shall be installed other than safety and required warning signs.

g.    Conformance with Chapter 12.04 PMC, Underground Utilities.

All utility-scale solar facilities, including any new off-site transmission lines, are subject to the provisions of Chapter 12.04 PMC, pertaining to underground utilities and encroachment into public rights-of-way.

3.    Operational Requirements

a.    Time Limits

The maximum duration of the approval period for a utility-scale solar facility shall be twenty-five (25) years. An extension of the approval of the permit may be granted by the reviewing authority. New conditions of approval may also be applied to an approval for extension, as may be deemed necessary based upon changing conditions or development in the surrounding area.

b.    Discontinued Use

The operator of a lawfully erected facility, and the owner of the property upon which it is located, shall promptly notify the Director of Planning in writing in the event that use of the facility is discontinued for any reason. In the event that the discontinued use is permanent, the owner(s) and/or operator(s) shall promptly remove the facility, and repair any damage to the property caused by such removal, including revegetation and road repair. All such removal and repair shall be completed within ninety (90) days after the use is discontinued, and shall be performed in accordance with all applicable zoning and health and safety code requirements. For purposes of this paragraph, a discontinued use shall be permanent unless the facility is reasonably likely to be operative and used within the immediately following three-month period.

c.    Abandonment

Structures associated with solar power generating facilities that have been determined to be inoperative or abandoned for a period of six (6) months shall be removed, unless a new application to re-establish the use are filed with the City.

d.    Removal by City

The City may remove an abandoned facility, repair any and all damage to the property caused by such removal, and otherwise restore the property as is appropriate to be in compliance with the applicable code at the following times: 1) after thirty (30) days following a notice of abandonment, or 2) following a notice of decision by the Director of Planning, subject to the owner/operator’s right of appeal under the City of Palmdale Municipal Code. The City may, but shall not be required to, store the removed facility (or any part thereof). The owner of the premises upon which the abandoned facility was located, and all prior operators of the facility, shall be jointly liable for the entire cost of such removal, repair, restoration and storage, and shall remit payment to the City promptly after demand therefore is made. The City may, in lieu of storing the removed facility, convert it to the City’s use, sell it, or dispose of it in any manner deemed by the City to be appropriate.

e.    City Lien on Property

When the City removes an abandoned facility pursuant to subsection (D)(3)(d) of this Section, the cost for the removal, repair and restoration of the site, and storage of the materials shall be recouped through the placement of a lien on the real property on which the facility was located, for the full amount of the cost of removal, repair, restoration, and storage. The Director of Planning shall cause the lien to be recorded in the County of Los Angeles Recorder’s Office.

17.99.030 Small Residential Wind Generator Systems (SRWGS)

(Zoning Ordinance Amendment 13-001, adopted by City Council December 4, 2013)

A.    Purpose and intent

It is the intent of these regulations to permit Small Residential Wind Generator Systems (SRWGS) as an accessory use in the A-1 (Light Agriculture), R-1 (Single Family Residential), as well as in any existing single family residential uses not zoned A-1, or R-1. It is the purpose of these regulations to ensure that alternative energy systems are available in the City of Palmdale, and that they are installed in a manner that avoids hazards to public health and safety, minimizes adverse aesthetic impacts, and ensures compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood.

B.    Definitions

Small Residential Wind Generator Systems (SRWGS) shall mean a wind energy conversion system that is located on a pole designed with a vertical axis or a small conventional blade generator suitable for single family residential zones consisting of a wind turbine, tower, associated controls, and conversions systems and which will be used primarily to reduce on-site consumption of utility power by converting mechanical energy into electricity.

Small Residential Wind Generator Systems (SRWGS) height shall mean the vertical distance from ground level to the tip of the wind generator at its highest point.

C.    Development Standards

Installation of Small Residential Wind Generator Systems (SRWGS) where permitted as an accessory use subject to administrative review by a Minor Site Plan Review application, shall be constructed in the following manner:

1.    Minimum parcel size. Residential developments of a minimum of 7,000 square feet or a legally established residential lot and/or an existing non-conforming residential use.

2.    SRWGS location: No part of the SRWGS shall encroach into the minimum rear or side setbacks.

a.    A self-standing Small Residential Wind Generator Systems shall be located on the rear yard or side yard. Rear and side yard setbacks shall be as indicated in the following table:

Zoning Designation

Minimum

Lot Size

Minimum Rear

Yard Setback

Minimum Side

Yard Setback

A-1

1 Acre

35 Feet*

10 Feet

R-1-1

1 Acre

35 Feet*

10 Feet

R-1-20,000

20,000 SF

25 Feet*

10 Feet

R-1-15,000

15,000 SF

20 Feet*

10 Feet

R-1-13,000

13,000 SF

10 Feet*

10 Feet

R-1-10,000

10,000 SF

10 Feet*

10 Feet

R-1-7,000

7,000

10 Feet*

10 Feet

Note: No part of the SRWGS shall encroach into the minimum rear or side setbacks.

b.    SRWGS may be roof mounted on legally established structures meeting the required setback pursuant to the zoning designation at a maximum height of 42 feet to the highest point of the SRWGS.

3.    Cage width. The maximum cage or diameter of the system shall not exceed 60 inches (5 feet).

4.    SRWGS height, self-standing shall be determined by the zoning designation as illustrated on the following table:

Zoning Designation

Minimum Lot Size

Maximum SRWGS Height

A-1

1 Acre

100 Feet*

R-1-1

1 Acre

100 Feet*

R-1-20,000

20,000 SF

45 Feet*

R-1-15,000

15,000 SF

45 Feet*

R-1-13,000

13,000 SF

45 Feet*

R-1-10,000

10,000 SF

40 Feet*

R-1-7,000

7,000

35 Feet*

*    All proposed SRWGS shall maintain all required clearances from overhead utility lines.

Roof mounted SRWGS shall comply with applicable provisions of the California State Building Code and adopted City of Palmdale Building Codes. Certification of compliance by a State registered professional engineer is required.

5.    Number of SRWGS permitted. The number of SRWGS is limited to one per every legally established single-family residential use in the A-1 (Light Agricultural) and R-1 (Single Family Residential) zone districts, and existing single family residential uses in other zoning districts.

6.    Noise. SRWGS Systems shall meet the following criteria with respect to noise:

a.    A site-specific noise study or the manufacturer’s engineered sound report shall be submitted with the required application for review. The decibel level shall comply with the Noise Element of the General Plan and the SRWGS shall not exceed 50 decibels (dBA) as measured at the property line.

7.    Aesthetics. SRWGS Systems shall meet the following criteria with respect to aesthetics:

a.    The cage and the pole for the SRWGS system shall not be brightly colored. The cage and pole should be sky colored, or should coordinate with the color palette approved for the residence.

b.    The maximum diameter of the cage shall not exceed 60 inches (5 feet).

8.    Access.

a.    The pole shall be designed and installed so as to not provide step bolts or a ladder.

9.    Lighting.

a.    A Small Residential Wind Generator Systems (SRWGS) shall not be illuminated unless required by the Federal Aviation Administration. A light temporarily used to inspect a turbine, tower and associated equipment is permissible, providing said light is only used for inspection purposes and not left on for an extended period of time.

10.    Signs. All signs, other than the manufacturer’s or installer’s identification, appropriate warning signs shall be prohibited.

11.    Building Permit. Applicable building permits shall be required for a SRWGS.

12.    The system shall comply with all applicable Federal Aviation Administration requirements, including but not limited to Subpart B (commencing with Section 77.11) of Part 77 of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations regarding installations close to airports. These regulations apply to any installation within 20,000 feet of an airport and exceeding specific heights based on specific FAA and airport parameters.

13.    If the SRWGS use has been determined by the Planning Director or his or her designee to be inoperative or abandoned for a period of six (6) months, the SRWGS shall be removed, unless a new application to re-establish the use is filed with the City. The property owner shall remove an abandoned facility, repair any and all damage to the premises caused by such removal, and restore the premises as in appropriate to be in compliance with applicable code at any time: 1) after ninety (90) days following a notice of abandonment, or 2) following a notice of decision by the Director of Planning, subject to the owner/operator’s right of appeal under the City of Palmdale Municipal Code. The owner of the premises upon which the abandoned facility was located shall be liable for the entire cost of such removal, repair, restoration and storage.

D.    Review Process

Small Residential Wind Generator Systems (SRWGS) shall be permitted as an Accessory Use when permitted in the zoning district subject to Administrative Approval through a Minor Site Plan Review application.

E.    Submittal Requirements

The applicant shall submit the information required by the appropriate application form, including but not limited to the following information.

Applications for a SRWGS shall include the following items:

1.    Site Plan

a.    Property lines and physical dimensions of the subject property;

b.    Location, dimensions, and types of existing structures on the property;

c.    Location of the proposed SRWGS including, foundations and associated equipment;

d.    Proposed SRWGS elevation drawings,

e.    A rendering of the proposed SRWGS

f.    Any overhead utility lines, and

g.    A SRWGS site specific noise analysis.

2.    A perspective rendering from any abutting public way if the SRWGS is visible from said public way.

3.    Specifications of the SRWGS including manufacturer and model, rotor diameter, and proposed pole height.

4.    Typical pole foundation specifications or drawings from the wind turbine manufacturer.