One of the challenges to biogas production is that production facilities are not readily classified under most existing zoning laws, which can slow project development and increase transaction costs for creating new biogas production facilities. The model regulations proposed here address only biogas production facilities and not other renewable gas facilities. They seek to provide a template for local governments to amend their zoning regulations to make biogas production facilities a contemplated and accepted use, which would make development of such facilities quicker and less costly.
These proposed regulations are closely based on California, Kentucky, and Hawaii statutes and proposed ordinances, and represent two alternative statutory approaches for accommodating biogas production facilities. The first approach is slightly broader and more adaptable. The definition of “biogas production facility” is added at the beginning of the zoning regulations, and the term “biogas production facility” is simply added to each zone in which it would be an approved use. Local governments might consider adding similar provisions to their codes to simplify the process for creating biogas production facilities. The second approach is more specific, contemplating that the common biogas production facility will be one associated with agricultural lands. Thus, this regulatory language amends the definition of approved uses on agricultural lands to describe biogas production facilities and associated buildings and land uses.