PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT THREATENS TO OVERSHADOW SOLAR PANELS
-By Jake Woolford –
Does a property owner have the right to access sunlight? Should it be a protected right? These were the issues when a proposed development threatened to overshadow another property’s solar panels. The neighbour raised objections with the local council and the council refused to consent to the development. The developer took legal action but was unsuccessful. The case also deals with issues about the size of proposed developments.
Background – Proposed development
A developer wanted to build an apartment building and so applied to the Adelaide City Council for development approval. The land was in a residential part of the city centre and some single storey homes would have to be demolished to make way for the development.
The development was to be 4 storeys high, consisting of 6 apartments and a carpark. The neighbour objected because it would completely overshadow her solar hot water service and for many hours of the day, would overshadow her other solar panels and her yard. The development would also overshadow the communal vegetable garden that was in the area, which would affect the success of the garden and its ability to provide fresh produce for the local residents.
The Council initially refused the application because it overshadowed the neighbouring property and it was the wrong type of development for the area.
The developer appealed this decision, arguing that the proposed development was within the maximum height that the area’s development plan allowed.
The Council argued that the proposed development didn’t fit in with the desired character of the development plan and it also didn’t fit in with the other homes that were already there. It used experts to show the effects of the proposed development overshadowing the neighbouring properties. The evidence was that there would be overshadowing on:
- The neighbour’s solar hot water service.
- The neighbour’s rooftop solar panels.
- The windows of neighbouring properties.
- The communal garden.
The Court also heard that On June 22 (winter solstice):
- The solar hot water service would be in full shadow between 9am and 3pm.
- Ninety percent of the solar panels would be shaded between 9am and 1.15pm and then one hundred percent shaded after that time. However, if the proposed development were only two storeys high, there would be no overshadowing.
- There would be overshadowing on the communal garden between 9am and 3pm regardless of whether the building was two or four storeys high. Development laws required that the garden have at least two hours of direct sunlight.
The court found that the proposed development didn’t fit the development plan. There were a number of reasons for this, including the bulk of the property and the issue of overshadowing.
It said that because the proposed development was four storeys high, the issue of overshadowing was potentially much worse than if it were, say, two storeys high. Despite this, the Court was more concerned with the amount of sunlight in the open and communal spaces and to property windows. It was also a problem that the solar panels and hot water service were overshadowed.
What does it mean?
Whether a property owner has a right to solar power will be a question of increasing importance, especially as gas and electricity prices continue to rise and reliable power supply becomes uncertain. However, the court didn’t decide this case on whether this right existed but rather looked at the requirements of the development plan.
The court found that the proposed development didn’t comply with the plan and so it was inappropriate. It was excessively bulky and far too big. This meant that it failed to minimise the effects of overshadowing.
Because of the strict requirements concerning overshadowing issues, it is possible to infer a right to solar power because of there is a right not to be subjected to overshadowing by a neighbouring building.
For the time being, however, the court hasn’t made any specific decision about whether there is a right to solar power.
FREE FIRST INTERVIEW
NO WIN NO FEE
LOCAL LAWYERS FOR LOCAL NEEDS
GET THE RIGHT LAWYER FIRST
Having such a short time frame I was very impressed with the outcome made by [my solicitor]. Excellent and timely manner
Very professional mannerism and overall great outcome was delivered by Websters Lawyers.
West Ryde NSW
Helpful, explained fully, patient, excellent service.
Patient and helpful in explaining the process.
Call Websters Lawyers for a most professional and friendly service. All understanding with [my solicitors] and the reception staff. Thank you so much.
Making my will was effortless on my part, with everything explained clearly. Well done to all.
Great service, professional, explains things clearly, definitely recommend Websters Lawyers.
Patient, professional, good communication about procedures and probable outcomes.
Thank you for all your work over the course of the case. You [both] were always very approachable and I appreciated your understanding and professionalism in all areas.
All in all my experience was great. Thank you for your time and expertise.
My matter was dealt with efficiently and was explained in an understandable language. A pleasant experience.
Practical and very helpful. Reasons and explanations given where needed
I stumbled across Websters in the Yellow Pages and I rang, explained my situation and immediately they took my case on. Greatly appreciate their services.
The service from Websters Lawyers was outstanding. [My solicitor] was caring, had patience and was very professional. Wonderful personality.
[My solicitor] made everything so simple to understand. [The receptionist] was wicked too, would recommend them anytime. Level of entire service was outstanding.
I had dealings with Websters over 20 years ago. They were my first choice when I recently needed legal advice. Both legal and office staff were professional, courteous and accessible at all times. Everything was explained up front in a clear and concise manner. I would not hesitate to recommend their services.
It has truly been a pleasure communicating with you throughout the process. I really appreciate your patient and speedy replies to my questions and requests. You were always able to provide an easily understood response and this helped me deal with the process. Your friendly and positive manner encouraged me to seek your advice.
Battery Hill QLD
[My lawyer's] service was prompt and efficient with all questions explained clearly with all our requests carried out within the laws. Overall service was very satisfactory.
[My lawyer] was excellent.
Excellent service. Professional. Clear advice and instructions. Prompt actions. Overall 10/10!
Overall, I was happy with my outcome and my lawyer, would definitely recommend [my lawyer].
[My solicitor] was excellent at helping us through preparing our wills which were particularly challenging as they involved assets in multiple countries. She was professional and knowledgeable and spent time tailoring the wills to our needs.
[My solicitor] was very helpful, respectful and polite. She made sure I understood the process and documentation of our wills.
Professional. Smooth Transaction.
I found the whole experience from Receptionist to Solicitor excellent. They completely put us at our ease.
This was a new experience for us and didn’t have a clue what to do. [Our solicitor] on our first visit put us at ease, explained what will happen, pointed out there was a strong case. [Our solicitor] was genuine in her approach, kept us well informed, explained actions several times with patience and understanding. Overall very happy with the service we received.
[My lawyer] was very reassuring in her approach to my case. I felt that every possibility in terms of evidence to provide and possible outcomes were explained to me, The result of the case was the best possible outcome I could have expected.
With no previous dealing with the criminal justice system, [our solicitor] gave us excellent advice and guided us through a nightmare to achieve a just and correct outcome. [Our lawyer] was both forthright and compassionate in her handling of our case.
[My lawyer] explained all the legal terms in language I could understand – she was very easy to talk to.
Cameron, Munno Para
I felt confident knowing my matter was in good hands. Very professional!
Shravan, Christie Downs
Initial phone call was fantastic and the role of an executor was fully explained.
Penny, Henley Beach
The service I received was efficient and promptly finalised. The solicitor clearly explained the details and I was happy with how easy it was.
Dale, Fairview Park
[My lawyer] was exactly the lawyer I needed in a serious matter. The outcome was as predicted which was a fantastic result. I received prompt professional and personal service at all times. Capable and supportive in a very stressful period.
Jason, Munno Para West
I had any of my concerns answered to my satisfaction and understanding.
Valda, Ingle Farm
[My lawyer] is an excellent professional lawyer who assisted in achieving a great positive outcome/result. I sincerely thank you and your great staff for your assistance and guidance throughout my claim. Would highly recommend [my lawyer], staff and Websters Lawyers. Kept fully informed and guided, professionally throughout the matter.
Our work was dealt with very efficiently and speedily. Our lawyer was very professional, at the same time as being approachable. Communication was great.
My experience with Websters Lawyers was far beyond what I expected. From the moment I spoke to [my lawyer] she made me feel very comfortable and eased my stress. In my case I had a court appearance the day before we were scheduled to fly to Spain, Considering my first appointment with her was only 2 weeks before the court hearing, she was able to obtain the police statement and thoroughly work on my case within that limited time frame. She was very knowledgeable, understanding and confident which greatly relieved so much pressure from me and my family. At court, she explained everything thoroughly and advised me of all the possible outcomes. Price, service and result, very highly recommended. Thank you Websters Lawyers.
Rafael, Davoren Park
I have high expectations and they were met. Websters service was swift, courteous, professional and met the agreed budget. I will recommend Websters to my family, friends and colleagues. Thank you.
I would recommend Websters Lawyers, especially for [my lawyer's] dedication and exemplary attitude and advice. She is the epitome of a good lawyer. The service was impeccable.
Pamela, West Lakes
[My lawyer] was very professional and I was made comfortable to understand.
I was very pleased with the end result and how well [my lawyer] conducted herself.
Jesse, Morphett Vale
[My lawyer] has been very prompt , reliable and provided a high level of communication.
My experience at Websters was very positive. The stress was taken from me and I could not be happier with the outcome. [My lawyer] at Websters was professional, personable, available and caring. Thank you for making the experience stress free.
Magda, Holden Hill
Found my lawyer upfront and reliable – I would highly recommend Websters Lawyers.
Lee, Evanston Park
Top bunch of solicitors and admin staff. Very friendly and to the point service.
Bradley, Hallett Cove
Websters Lawyers were very professional in their service, I would be happy to recommend them.
Carole, Tea Tree Gully
We would not hesitate in recommending Websters for any legal matter. They are professional and courteous at all times and call back when they say they will.
David and Dianne, Lockleys
I fully recommend Websters Lawyers. This was the 3rd time myself & my family have used Websters Lawyers. In these stressful times we have found them to answer and guide us through the process needed to accomplish the legal requirements in a timely and courteous manner.
Solid, to the point, no hustle. Highly recommend.
George, Windsor Gardens