Posey Co. Commissioners vote to keep solar ordinance the same

Posey Co. Commissioners vote to keep solar ordinance the same

POSEY CO., Ind. (WFIE) - Posey County Commissioners heard more opposition to a proposed solar farm project Tuesday morning.

The meeting lasted about three and half hours.

Previously, the Area Planning Commission considered making changes to their solar ordinance but ultimately decided not to include the changes, other than some compromises.

The motion passed two to one.

“I fell in love not with the house, but with the drive to our house,” one Posey County resident said. “The drive that will now be covered in solar panels.”

Some residents say they’re concerned about their farmland, property value and what solar farms will do to hinder those.

“None of us that oppose this project are opposed to solar, we just don’t feel the decimation of a farming community and very productive farm ground is the way to do this,” said Posey County resident Vince Frazier.” We’d much rather see the solar go up on strip mine ground.”

Residents who support solar farms say the project will add value to the County and bring the funds they need now.

They say change is inevitable.

Commissioners say they’ve lost many hours of sleep over the decision.

“I understand the frustration, but at the end of the day we have to do what’s right for the entire county and this is the way my feeling was,” said commissioner Bill Collins, who voted in favor of the solar farms. “We had to protect property rights and still add some screening and protection for people not involved.”

“I just think the residents and agricultural community is not being represented here,” said commissioner Randy Thornberg, who voted against the solar farms. “They seem like they had their minds made up a head of time to go with this solar company.”

The approved plan comes with some compromise. Solar panels need to be 350 feet from non-participating residents instead of the originally proposed 100, and trees will be surrounding panels to help with the view.

Collins said one request was a property value guarantee, but according to the ordinance, unless they have a tax abatement or an economic development agreement, they cannot consider a property value guarantee.

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