Worthington City Council reverses resident's solar-panel rejection

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Patrick Rogers has won his appeal to Worthington City Council regarding a Sept. 27 decision by the Worthington Architectural Review Board, which rejected his request to to install 25 solar panels on his house at 150 W. New England St.

Worthington City Council voted unanimously Dec. 7 to approve an appeal by resident Patrick Rogers to install solar panels on his West New England Street home.

The decision overturned a 4-3 vote by the Worthington Architectural Review Board on Sept. 27 to deny Rogers a certificate of appropriateness to install 25 solar panels on his house in the city's historic district. The board cited guidelines amended by the city in 2017 regarding solar panels as they pertain to maintaining the historical integrity of the architectural-review district.

Previous story:Resident appealing solar-panel rejection

Previous story:Worthington City Council will review resident's solar-panel appeal

Previous story:Worthington City Council likely will review solar-panel appeal in December

Rogers argued during his appeal Dec. 7 that his application to install solar panels met the city’s guidelines for residences that may display visible panels, citing that his house at 150 W. New England St. is a mid-century property built in 1959.

“In the architectural review board, everyone agreed that my application met all of these criteria,” Rogers said. "They could not identify any historic materials, any distinctive features. They all agreed that a 1959 home generally doesn’t have those things.”

Council President Bonnie Michael said council members agreed. 

“I think there was a general consensus that what happens with the city regarding preserving our historic district is extremely important,” she said. "The particular house in question, while in the historic district, is a mid-century modern house.

“If that house were a 100-to 150-year-old house in that exact same place, I think the decision would be different. But this is a mid-century modern – it was one of the beginning houses for the whole Kilbourne village. It was something that was built to start moving Worthington into a new direction. So, as a result, the council felt it was appropriate to have the solar panels, I think in large part because it’s mid-century modern.”

Rogers is cleared to move forward with installation of the panels as he sees fit.

He said he was happy with the decision. 

“I’m very pleased,” Rogers said. “They agreed with me that the current resolution as written would allow my panels, so I think it’s a win-win for everybody.

“It allows people who can make a case like mine to have panels while still protecting the architectural integrity of the historical district.”

Rogers’ appeal, filed Oct. 1 shortly after the ARB’s decision in September, was approved for a paper review by council Oct. 19. The appeal was scheduled to be heard at council’s Nov. 9 meeting but did not make it to council’s agenda until December

Michael said the design guidelines for solar panels would remain the same and that individual applications still would be heard on a case-by-case basis. 

“Each application that comes forward for solar panels in the architectural review district will need to be looked at case by case and compared to the design guidelines,” she said.

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve