Friday Funny: Zoning Trumps Al Gore's 'Green' Plans

<p>The former Vice President's application to install solar panels on his home was denied by the zoning board of this wealthy Nashville enclave.</p>
March 23, 2007, 2pm PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"Zoning rules in Al Gore's upscale Tennessee neighborhood have prevented the former vice president and environmental activist from installing solar panels on his roof.

Gore bought his multimillion dollar home in 2002 in Belle Meade, an exclusive city encircled by metropolitan Nashville, and he has embarked on an ambitious renovation. But his contractors ran into a legal barrier last summer when they sought to apply for a permit to install solar panels on the roof.

Terry Franklin, Belle Meade's building officer, said the town only allows power generating equipment to be placed on the ground level. "Solar panels are generators," Franklin said.

A conservative group that disputes the findings about global warming criticized Gore last month, complaining that his home uses too much electricity.

Belle Meade, the nation's fifth-richest town according to the 2000 Census, developed the zoning rules because many of its homes have backup electric generators. The area has several tall trees and residents have discouraged Nashville Electric Service crews from pruning those near power lines. Power outages from falling branches have forced several residents to purchase backup generators."

"New rules on April 1 will allow homeowners to install solar panels on their roofs. But there's a caveat: "Solar panels may be installed upon the roof of a building so long as they are not visible from the street or from any adjoining property," according to the ordinance."

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Published on Tuesday, March 20, 2007 in The News & Observer
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