(A)   General. The provisions in this section are in addition to the general violation, penalties, and enforcement provisions of this subchapter. Lake County shall retain authority to enforce the height and setbacks for solar energy systems in §§ 151.112(UU) and 151.113(U), and additional requirements and standards for solar energy systems as identified in Appendix R.
      (1)   Decommissioning plan and assurances.
         (a)   Prior to permit issuance, the operator shall prepare a decommissioning plan which shows the final site conditions after a principal use medium/large scale ground-mounted solar energy system has been removed from the property. Decommissioning shall include the removal of all elements listed in § 121.259(A)(2)(a) below. Access roads, fencing, groundcover, and landscaping may remain only if it can be shown to be compatible with the future use of the property.
         (b)   Prior to permit issuance, the operator shall submit an engineer's estimate of probable cost for decommissioning the principal use medium/large scale ground-mounted solar energy system and restoring the site in accordance with the approved decommissioning plan. Upon review and approval of the estimate by the Planning Director, the operator shall obtain a bond, letter of credit, or other form of surety that meets the requirements of § 151.203(A) in the amount of 130% of the engineer’s estimate.
      (2)   Removal requirements.
         (a)   Any ground-mounted solar energy system which has reached the end of its useful life or has been abandoned shall be removed. The owner or operator shall physically remove the installation no more than 150 days after the date of discontinued operations. The owner or operator shall notify the county by certified mail of the proposed date of discontinued operations and plans for removal. Decommissioning shall consist of:
            1.   Physical removal of all solar energy systems, structures, equipment, security barriers and electrical wiring lines from the site; and
            2.   Disposal of all solid and hazardous waste in accordance with local, state, and federal waste disposal regulations; and
            3.   Stabilization or re-vegetation of the site as necessary to minimize erosion. The county may allow the owner or operator to leave landscaping or designated below-grade foundations or electrical wiring in order to minimize erosion and disruption to vegetation.
         (b)   Absent notice of a proposed date of decommissioning or written notice of extenuating circumstances, a principal use or accessory use medium/large scale ground-mounted solar energy system shall be considered abandoned when it fails to operate for more than one year without the written consent of the county. If the owner or operator of the solar energy system fails to remove the installation in accordance with the requirements of this section within 150 days of abandonment or the proposed date of decommissioning, the county may seek a court order to require the property owner to remove an abandoned, hazardous, or decommissioned ground-mounted solar energy system. The county also retains the right, after the receipt of an appropriate court order, to enter and remove the ground-mounted solar energy system and lien the property for such costs. As a condition of site plan and/or special/conditional use permit approval, the applicant and landowner shall agree to allow entry to remove an abandoned or decommissioned installation.
(Ord. 19-1378, passed 9-10-2019)