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Henlopen Acres makes changes to tree ordinance

Commissioners also modify solar panel code and business license fee schedule
October 15, 2020

Story Location:
Henlopen Acres Town Hall
104 Tidewaters
Henlopen Acres  Delaware  19971
United States

Less than a year after creating a minimum-density tree ordinance, Henlopen Acres has modified it by increasing the minimum size required of trees planted on private property.

During a commissioner meeting Oct. 9, commissioners unanimously approved increasing the minimum caliper of a tree from 1.5 inches to between 2.5 and 3 inches. The minimum height was also increased from 5 feet to between 8 and 10 feet.

Commissioner Jeffrey Jacobs said the town arborist suggested the changes for a number of reasons, most importantly probability of survival.

Jacobs recognized the cost of planting a tree increases as size increases, but he said it's minimal. As an example, he said the town is paying a total of $9,000 extra for the 22 trees it’s planting in town rights of way.

Code change encourages solar panel installation

In an effort to encourage the use of solar panels on Henlopen Acres homes, commissioners have eased panel placement requirements.

During the Oct. 9 meeting, Town Manager Tom Roth said the town’s ordinance hadn’t been updated in a while and was no longer current. It’s behind the times, he said.

Previously, solar panels were not allowed on the roof surface facing the street. As approved, the front slope of a building shall not be used unless no other option is available.

Mayor Joni Reich said the purpose of the update was to encourage solar panel installation.

Another change also prohibits commercial operation; energy produced by the solar panels must be consumed onsite. Jacobs said he suggested this change because there are places in the country where a third-party entity pays to have panels installed on a house, only to have the energy generated go back to the electrical grid as a whole.

Commissioner Andrew Brittingham asked Roth how many houses there were with solar panels in Henlopen Acres. Roth said he was aware of three.

Brittingham said he was glad the changes were being made now because technology is changing, and 10 years from now solar could be much more feasible for people.

Business license fees changed

At Roth’s suggestion, Henlopen Acres commissioners decreased the maximum number of employees a business can have and still pay the minimum business license fee.

As approved, the maximum number of employees a business can have to pay the $50 business license fee is 10. Previously, the maximum was 50 employees.

Roth said he made the suggestion because companies with dozens of employees were working in Henlopen Acres, messing up town rights of way, and the town wasn’t recouping costs associated with cleaning up the mess. He said the change still doesn’t penalize the one- or two-person lawn-mowing operations.

The change will go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

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