May 15, 2018 05:28 AM
Leo Whitebird, a homeowner in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis, designed his home around the sunlight. There are solar panels on his roof, and he says he enlarged and angled his windows so that passive solar energy heats his home in the winter.
"My living room windows alone save me $260 alone in heating costs," Whitebird said.
But now he says construction plans for a three-story building in the parking lot next door will block the sun, and reduce his ability to use solar energy.
City of Minneapolis Planning Manager Jason Wittenberg says the city encourages residents to use solar energy.
"When people are installing solar, we think they have to make a bit of a calculation about the possibility of neighbors making changes," he said.
Wittenberg also says when there's a construction proposal, planners do consider neighboring solar-energy systems... but there are also other considerations that factor in.
"If someone is meeting all their zoning standards, we have no authority to tell them they can't obstruct sunlight from a neighbor's property," he said.
Whitebird is filing an injunction to stop the construction project. He has a hearing in Hennepin County next week.
"These are very real expenses for me. There should be some legal protections for people in my situation," he said.
For more information on the City of Minneapolis' ordinances involving solar energy, click here.
Updated: May 15, 2018 05:28 AM
Created: May 14, 2018 05:11 PM
Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company