LegeLand: Bill of the Week
Green energy vs. HOAs
Senate Bill 302Filed: Dec. 30, 2010
Author: Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio
In an age when lowering one's carbon footprint is all the rage, you wouldn't think any governmental or quasi-governmental agency would have the nerve to prohibit anything green. But in fact, some homeowners associations do just that, telling members they can't install solar panels on their property – placing neighborhood aesthetics above the environment. Several bills filed this session challenge that authority, including this one by Wentworth, whose district includes part of southern Travis County. As long as the device is located on the property owner's roof or in a fenced yard and is not dangerous or illegal, then the HOA will just have to shut up and let the sun shine if this bill becomes law. It's currently in the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee. SB 238 and SB 447 are duplicates of SB 302, and another bill, House Bill 450, is similar (but adds that the device must not be "taller or more visually obtrusive than is necessary"). Similar bills died two years ago when the session ground to a halt over the voter ID issue.