The Delaware County Commissioners will extend a moratorium on solar energy project applications in the county for a year.
County officials have sat through hours of testimony at several meetings by farmers and homeowners in northern Delaware County who do not want a solar farm near their homes or farm ground. Though, as farmer Jim Mock said, not everyone is opposed.
“It’s splitting our community," Mock said. "We’ve got neighbors that don’t speak to one another now.”
On Tuesday commissioners first approved amendments to the county’s ordinance governing solar farms, which was created last year. Those changes were recommended by the Delaware-Muncie Metropolitan Commission in a meeting last week. They include increasing the minimum setback – how far between a property line and a solar panel farm – to 200 feet. The changes would also classify putting solar panels on farm ground a “special use,” triggering more public hearings and approvals with every application.
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Then, commissioners approved a year-long moratorium on solar farm project applications. In that time, officials want to create a committee to study the issue and further consider the ordinance, commissioner Shannon Henry said.
“There’s been some – a lot of – misinformation on both sides that’s been provided.”
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The Plan Commission will help bring together that committee, made up of supporters, opponents, and officials.
Judging by the applause in the standing-room only crowd, the move has a lot of fans.