Preserve, Reuse, and Pass Forward Oregon's Historic Resources...
Since the beginning of the 2011 legislative season, the HPLO has been tracking House Bill 3516, a proposal to exempt photovoltaic installations from local design review. As originally written, the legislation would have allowed solar panels to pop up on historic resources around the state without the ability for local review boards to uphold the integrity of buildings and districts designated as historic on the National Register or local landmark/conservation lists. The efforts of the HPLO and other friends of preservation to encourage amendments to the bill that 1) still encourage alternative energy installations and 2) allow local jurisdictions to retain purview over historic places seem to have been successful.
In an email from the League of Oregon Cities this afternoon, the HPLO has been informed that amendments are being prepared that would do the following:
1) Retain design review for National Register buildings and districts,
2) Retain design review for local landmark buildings and districts,
3) Retain design review for conservation districts if the solar installation faces the street. Solar systems installed on side or rear facing roofs would not require design review if installed flush to the roof,
4) In all cases where design review is not permitted (e.g. non-historic buildings and districts), solar panels must be installed flush to the roof to be exempt from local design review.
These amendments have yet to be incorporated into House Bill 3516, but the work of the League of Oregon Cities and the bill's sponsors have been a great testament to the value of Oregon's historic places and the desire to craft thoughtful policies to encourage alternative energy while retaining community character and significance.