Energy-conscious couple with solar panels upsets Sewickley neighbors
Dorothy and Andrew Falk say they are surprised the addition of solar panels on their Henry Avenue, Sewickley, home has upset some neighbors.
“I'm sure these are wonderful folks, and I would hate to upset anybody,” Andrew Falk said.
Some of the Falks' neighbors are upset by the couple's decision to install solar panels on a portion of their roof and on their garage.
Sewickley Council approved the placement of solar panels in the historic neighborhood in August — days after the borough's Historic Review Commission approved them. Panels were installed earlier this month.
“They are unsightly,” neighbor Angela Robb said. “They're not pretty.”
Robb said the panels are visible from outside of her kitchen and bedroom windows.
“I'm not pleased with the way it looks,” she said.
There is no formal policy limiting the use of solar panels inside a historic district, borough Manager Kevin Flannery said.
Guidelines and requirements are listed for solar energy systems and related equipment, Flannery said. Based on borough ordinances, the homeowners have met all requirements, he said.
Solar panels face an alleyway and neighboring homes. Two panels could have been visible from Little Street, but were relocated, Dorothy Falk said.
“We're doing good things for the environment, so it's a surprise there would be any objection to it,” she said.
The Falks' home was built in the late 1800s, Dorothy Falk said.
Andrew Falk said the addition of solar panels is an “investment to improve the value of our house and to lower our electric bill.”
They say the panels create about 80 percent of what they consume with additional power going back into the grid.
Neighbor Christy Semple said she was upset that panels are visible from her yard and inside her dining room.
“It's unfortunate, and when decisions like this are made, there are many factors that are not always considered,” she said.
She said no one from the borough notified her or neighbors the panels would be installed.
“We would have said something to each other,” she said. “I know people say this is the wave of the future, but there are other things that can be done now.”
Council President Bob Hague said he wants to see more discussion about solar panels in the borough.
“I don't want to be in favor of banning them,” he said.
Council member Charlie Driscoll said the borough's Historic Review Commission, of which he is a member, is studying solar panels.
The Falks say it never was their intention to upset neighbors.
“I love the historic feel of the neighborhood,” Dorothy Falk said. “We'd never do anything to detract from that.”
Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Bobby Cherry to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.