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The City of Sebastopol Building Department shall adopt an administrative, nondiscretionary review process to expedite approval of small residential rooftop solar energy systems within 30 days of the adoption of the ordinance codified in this chapter. The Building Department shall issue a building permit or other nondiscretionary permit the same day for over-the-counter applications or within one to three business days for electronic applications of receipt of a complete application that meets the requirements of the approved checklist and standard plan. A Building Official may require an applicant to apply for a use permit if the Official finds, based on substantial evidence, that the solar energy system could have a specific, adverse impact upon the public health and safety. Such decisions may be appealed to the City’s Planning Commission. Review of the application shall be limited to the Building Official’s review of whether the application meets local, State, and Federal health and safety requirements. If a use permit is required, a Building Official may deny an application for the use permit if the Official makes written findings based upon substantive evidence in the record that the proposed installation would have a specific, adverse impact upon public health or safety and there is no feasible method to satisfactorily mitigate or avoid, as defined, the adverse impact. Such findings shall include the basis for the rejection of the potential feasible alternative for preventing the adverse impact. Such decisions may be appealed to the City Planning Commission.

Any condition imposed on an application shall be designed to mitigate the specific, adverse impact upon health and safety at the lowest possible cost.

“A feasible method to satisfactorily mitigate or avoid the specific, adverse impact” includes, but is not limited to, any cost-effective method, condition, or mitigation imposed by the City on another similarly situated application in a prior successful application for a permit. The City shall use its best efforts to ensure that the selected method, condition, or mitigation meets the conditions of Section 714(d)(1)(A) and (B) of the Civil Code defining restrictions that do not significantly increase the cost of the system or decrease its efficiency or specified performance.

A City shall not condition approval of an application on the approval of an association, as defined in Section 4080 of the Civil Code.

If an application is deemed incomplete, a written correction notice detailing all deficiencies in the application and any additional information or documentation required to be eligible for expedited permit issuance shall be sent to the applicant for resubmission.

Only one inspection shall be required and performed by the Building Department for small residential rooftop solar energy systems eligible for expedited review.

The inspection shall be done in a timely manner and should include consolidated inspections. An inspection will be scheduled within two business days of a request and provide a two-hour inspection window.

If a small residential rooftop solar energy system fails inspection, a subsequent inspection is authorized but need not conform to the requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 1077 § 6, 2015)