We need your help! Please contact your legislator (House of Representatives) TODAY and urge them to: Oppose UNLESS AMENDED, S.B. 154 - It unreasonably tramples individual property rights previously agreed to.
Current law allows residents living in community associations to work with their community to install solar technology. CAI supports solar technology and the benefits of solar technology's environmental impact. As a public policy, CAI recommends that associations craft "going green" policy resolutions to guide owners in energy efficiency, utilizing sustainable technologies – such as solar. CAI encourages all homeowner associations to actively participate in ensuring environmental quality in communities while abiding by these three fundamental principles:
1. Respecting property rights and honoring pre-existing private agreements (CC&R's or Declarations) between homeowners associations and homeowners compatible with sustainable environmental practices.
2. Collaborating within the individual communities is the best way to develop sustainable, consensus-driven decisions.
3. Vigilant consideration of our actions will minimize our environmental footprint.
A bill passed just passed the Senate and is headed to the House that will trample property rights and community association governance under the guise of supporting solar technology.
CAI members have actively worked with S.B. 154's (2nd Substitute) sponsor, Senator Fillmore, and other stakeholders and we support requiring all future community documents to declare the community's solar rules. We also support all existing associations having a reasonable amount of time to declare their community's solar rules and to create reasonable restrictions when working with homeowners who want to install solar.
If this bill passes, Utahns will no longer be able to buy into communities believing they are protected by the pre-existing covenants that are recorded.
While supporting sustainable, green policies, we must OPPOSE SB154 (2nd Substitute) unless the following sections are amended:
Regarding moving 5% to 10% - 10% was the negotiated percentage in meetings with the stakeholders (last year's bill was 15%). Several surrounding states have similar legislation that uses the 10% number. Senator Fillmore continues to testify that homeowners associations can adopt restrictions, however, he fails to clarify those restrictions cannot 1) decrease the energy production by this percentage and 2) increase the system's cost by this percentage.
What is the practical application of the bill as written? If an association has a restriction on solar panels on the front of homes but the front of the home is the "sunny" side of the home, if the associations requirement to place the solar panels on the back of the home would decrease production by more than this percentage, the homeowner would get to install their panels on the front of the home despite the associations restriction.
Therefore, we feel 10% is more reasonable to associations.
We are simply asking, and Senator Fillmore had previously agreed, to remove the retroactivity of the bill as written, by pushing the applicability date into the future. Only this will allow associations, who have yet to previously "expressly" mention solar panels in their CC&R's, to clarify their intentions. There will be no mass rush of associations to prohibit solar as a result of our requested amendment. And thus the legislature will not impose their will over associations that already have processes in place regarding exterior modifications.
If pre-existing associations do not declare by the end of 2017, then we support all the stakeholders in applying the statute allowing solar.
ACT NOW - contact your representative now and ask them to Oppose UNLESS AMENDED, S.B. 154 – to protect the right of homeowner associations to govern their neighborhoods in the best interest of their community.
Thank you for your support.
The CAI Utah Legislative Action Committee (Twitter: @utahshoavoice)
P.S. Please send this to others who may be impacted by this bad legislation and encourage them to contact their legislator.