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Laurel City Council tables solar panel amendment after residents oppose

The Laurel City Council tabled a zoning amendment Wednesday that would've loosened restrictions on solar panels after residents living near Patuxent Greens Golf Club voiced concern over a proposed project at the club.

The unanimous decision to table the motion came following a recommendation from the Planning Commission, which met on Oct. 14, to deny the amendment after approximately 15 residents from the Villages at the Greens of Patuxent testified against it.

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The proposed ordinance would amend the city's zoning code to allow petitioners, with certain restrictions, to install solar panels on the roofs of non-residential structures and large solar panel arrays in select areas on the ground in non-residential lots.   
A solar panel array is a collection of large solar panels placed in columns and rows on the ground. 
Odessa Phillips, a resident of the neighborhood, said she and her neighbors were pleased with the Council's decision, which also included creating a work group to study potential changes to the law.

She said the residents are not opposed to solar energy as an alternative, but that they were upset with the potential negative effect the project could have on their property values.

"The policy needs to be more balanced," she said of the amendment.

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Jack Brock, the city's director of community planning and business services, said the work group will take a "comprehensive look" at the code and will likely come back with a more thorough amendment.

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