Our Rights to Solar - Council Responses

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Re: Our Rights to Solar - Council Responses

Postby shaded system » Thu May 13, 2010 6:27 pm

In my case with Hornsby council I addressed all the relevant clauses in the council guidelines that appeared to offer me protection from shading impact. It was all to no avail as they ignored all my objections. In their opinion the level of impact on my solar access was not enough to ask for a change in the design of the proposed building. Councils view is I will be OK in the summer - just live with the lack of solar access in winter. A simple change in roofline from gable as was shown in the plans to a hipped roof which as per the existing house would have made a significant difference.
In terms of solar access in my garden for winter entertaining, council appeared to go out of their way to avoid the issue. Living in a battleaxe block we use our very private front garden at the North of our property for entertaining during winter. I made 3 distinct references to this fact in my letter to council. Council decided that I should use my rear yard in future and as this was not impacted by the proposed development the plans were passed. I informed council that my rear garden was already in the shade during winter as it is to the South and approx 3.5m below floor level. It is also sloping and hard to access. Council advised that the decision was made and there was nothing I could do except go to court.
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Re: Our Rights to Solar - Council Responses

Postby Inspector » Thu May 13, 2010 8:04 pm

It's probably not worth the hassle, but I'd be writing a letter to council proposing this offer to them:

"If Hornsby Council believes that you can live with the lack of solar access in winter, then they can live with you invoicing them for the loss of income from your solar-pv installation, and deduct it from your council rates." The reason I say to invoice the council is because they are the ones that approved the application. I wonder how well that would stand up in court? It's worth trying at least for giving them a laugh :)

I have heard of owners of rejected DA's appealing to the Lands and Environment court - but I don't know if this would be effective in your case, as it's the other way around.


This whole issue is going to become a nightmare as more customers install solar-pv and housing density increases. I'm sure it'll also expand from complaints about neighbouring properties, to trees on council land (eg: those living next to parks and reserves) and more...
"The standard you walk past is the standard you accept".
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Re: Our Rights to Solar - Council Responses

Postby bpratt » Thu May 13, 2010 9:29 pm

Inspector wrote:This whole issue is going to become a nightmare as more customers install solar-pv and housing density increases. I'm sure it'll also expand from complaints about neighbouring properties, to trees on council land (eg: those living next to parks and reserves) and more...


Which will then lead to a upturn in sales of 15cm copper nails and glysophate. :twisted:
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Re: Our Rights to Solar - Council Responses

Postby KarenS » Sun May 16, 2010 8:59 am

And don't rely on the Round-Up for ever and ever either ... see:
http://tinyurl.com/36g3rpw
about weeds developing resistance...
I am saving those big copper staples which come in some packing boxes and parcels - now I just need a day when they're all out and I'm home ...
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Re: Our Rights to Solar - Council Responses

Postby bpratt » Sun May 16, 2010 9:41 am

KarenS wrote:And don't rely on the Round-Up for ever and ever either ... see:
http://tinyurl.com/36g3rpw
about weeds developing resistance...
I am saving those big copper staples which come in some packing boxes and parcels - now I just need a day when they're all out and I'm home ...


Now that's interesting... I guess Monsanto will come out with a Round-Up Mk2 in the next couple of years and keep an exclusive hold on it (read profit).

Of course if they hadn't modified crops to be glysophate resistant in the first place, there wouldn't have been the opportunity for some weeds to also become resistant.


There's a couple of trees near my place that will soon find out that they are in a very lightning prone area, so I don't really need any copper spikes or glysophate. ;)
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Re: Our Rights to Solar - Council Responses

Postby shaded system » Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:15 pm

I have an update on my problems with shading of collectors - I received the following response from a local councillor – not the answer anyone in NSW wants to hear. He was sympathetic to my case but said "Now, due to the newly introduced planning laws, it is very difficult to do something like that (have flexibility to impose extra conditions on a DA) as it can be easily challenged by the applicant. The new laws are far more pro development and whether council wants to or not they have to be followed. The new laws now allow someone to bulldoze a house giving two days notice to the neighbour and so long as a number of checkboxes are ticked (and solar access for panels are not one of them) the applicant would have what is called a complying development which would not even need to go through council's DA process. Essentially council now has one hand tied behind its back when dealing with these issues now".
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Re: Our Rights to Solar - Council Responses

Postby solar_star » Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:14 am

I used to have a lovely sunny outside patio area in winter and on a nice day I could also get my washing dry. My next door neighbours (who I get on quite well with) trebled the size of their house with a rear two story extension. They are on the high side of the street and their house is up on stumps.

Not only has my sunny area disappeared for 6 months of the year but they have windows which look over the fence onto the patio area too. The argument was that the windows were below eye height ( which is true ) and therefore it wouldn't be a problem. However anyone standing in their house in the middle of the room AWAY from the window has line of sight to me sat in the garden ( and my knickers on the line - lucky them!).

In the middle of winter it can be a gorgeous sunny day and my washing line gets no sun on it :-(

Apparently if your garden is big enough you are meant to move your out door seating area and your washing line to somewhere else ( which would be the middle of my vegie patch ) if you want sunlight.

They also decided to level the lawn and decided to go the route of fill rather than cut meaning that a 3 year old standing on their lawn can now look into my back garden. Despite being an engineer he had failed to work out that raising the bottom corner of his lawn with respect to the fence would cause privacy issues. They kept the flower beds around their lawn at the original level and used a retaining wall so the fence is the original height so there is nothing that I can do except wait for his and my trees to gro bigger.

On the plus side while my north facing rooms are now plunged into darkness for half the year their choice of a rear extension means that I can get sunlight all day on the solar panels and hot water service on my roof.
Sometimes you just have to look at the silver lining.

I had an archicentre architect do a concept plan for my house ( before next door's extension) and he put the bathrooms on the north side - so no wonder we have such crap housing stock when architects don't even know which way North is or understand passive solar design. Certainly there is no excuse on new developments not to have rules which mandate where the building envelope is on each block and the maximum height that can be built to so that passive solar design isn't

At the back they built a row of mc mansions each with a different builder. One of the first houses built made use of passive solar design principles with north facing windows and courtyards - only to have the house on the block next door go up completely blocking their winter sun.
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Re: Our Rights to Solar - Council Responses

Postby shaded system » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:06 pm

solar_star wrote:
Apparently if your garden is big enough you are meant to move your out door seating area and your washing line to somewhere else ( which would be the middle of my vegie patch ) if you want sunlight.
.

I am still coming to terms with how council planning decisions are made with respect to outdoor entertaining. I sympathise with your position as I know how important access to winter sun is having been privileged for the last 28 years. My only silver lining is that my new neighbour hasn't commenced construction yet.
In my situation, in relation to Hornsby council planning guidelines, the council definition of private open space states that it shall be an extension of the function of the dwelling house for relaxation, dining, entertainment, recreation and children’s play. State planning laws then define a minimum solar access requirement for such areas. I thought that when the DA went in, I was on fairly safe ground based on the above conditions. I thought that as a minimum council would ask for changes in the roof line to minimise impact. Little did I know that council assessment officers can reconfigure my outdoor lifestyle at a whim. As noted in an earlier post my rear garden (which according to council is my new winter entertaining area) was already in the shade during winter as it is to the South and approx 3.5m below floor level and difficult to access. My argument to council was not helped by the DA which said "We believe the effect of additional shadow cast from the proposed additions will not have any adverse effect on the adjoining properties." Clearly I am the only one that doesn’t understand my own house / garden and how I use it.

solar_star wrote:At the back they built a row of mc mansions each with a different builder. One of the first houses built made use of passive solar design principles with north facing windows and courtyards - only to have the house on the block next door go up completely blocking their winter sun..

Makes a mockery of the BASIX system used in NSW where each new house is appraised on its Building Sustainability Index. The fact that each new house can negate the Sustainability credentials of the existing houses defeats the whole purpose of such a system.
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Re: Our Rights to Solar - Council Responses

Postby antoni » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:23 pm

Hi,,, some new units been built here in Melton I have seen have solar hot water pannels on west side roof, ok :may work ok in summer.....
But also south side roof ??????? Is the council or who is doing the checks...on new housing,,,,,
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Re: Our Rights to Solar - Council Responses

Postby gully » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:02 pm

Many new developments have restrictions not allowing solar (hot water / PV) panels on the street visible side of the house. Usually if this is north, they will go on the west side. South is a bit of a joke, unless it is reverse-framed (ugly).

I can't believe developer overlays have this sort of power!

About 'right to sunlight' - so in order to protect sunlight to an area, simply build a deck on it?
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