WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – Another example of a growing issue between homeowners’ associations and property owners involving solar panels pops up in a northwest Wichita neighborhood. Similar to a situation this summer in the southwest part of town, an HOA said “no” to a homeowner wanting the panels on his home. This will likely become an even bigger issue as solar becomes more popular and affordable. It’s an issue ending up in courts and state legislators across the U.S.
In Wichita’s Sterling Farms neighborhood northeast of 21st Street North and Maize Road, Justin Leuenberger wanted to take advantage of the cost-saving opportunity he saw with solar panels.
“I’m paying for the house, I’m paying for the land. Let me do with it what I want to do with it,” Leuenberger said.
After finding no solar panel restrictions in the Sterling Farms HOA bylaws, he put in a request.
“This was back in September. We were denied on aesthetic reasons, they said,” Leuenberger explained.
He didn’t agree.
“Because we were fighting them on it, two weeks later, they come up with an addendum saying, ‘yes, you can have them, but you can only have them on the back side of the house,’” Leuenberger said.
Those changes cost more money.
“It was an extra $20,000,” he said. “We’d have to double the amount of panels for 53% efficiency.”
The concern, the HOA expressed, is how the panels look on the front of a home. That’s the same issue that came up in August when an HOA in southwest Wichita fined a couple thousands of dollars and threatened to put a lien on their home, all because of solar panels.”
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