|Kosciusko County planners approve solar permit moratorium extension|
|Mark Howe, Times-Union Staff WriterKosciusko County Area Plan Commission voted Wednesday to recommend an ordinance that extends a moratorium on permits to build large-scare solar power facilities, or “solar farms.”
There is already a 60-day moratorium on permits already in place, which went into effect Jan. 22. The extra 90 days will give county commissioners and planners additional time to study what other governing entities have done, what has and has not worked, and decide how to proceed.
Assistant Planner Matt Sandy said some agriculture producers in the Leesburg and Clunette areas have been approached about putting in solar farms. He defined the term “large-scale solar operations” as an operation designed to put electricity into the grid for consumer use.
Sandy added that without a moratorium, companies applying for permits would have to be judged by current regulations, even if county officials have other, perhaps more stringent, regulations in process.
It also allows the ag producers time to more closely consider proposals for the long-term use of their land and the repercussions of that use.
The ordinance to extend the moratorium an additional 90 days will go before the county commissioners March 19, where the board is likely to approve the measure.
The plan commission also considered a rezoning request from Wawasee Community School Corp. The corporation asked to rezone property to the south of the bus garage on Kern Road from a public use district to an agricultural district.
The move, which was recommended for approval by the plan commission, will allow the school corporation to install solar panels for energy production for nearby Wawasee High School.
Solar panels can’t be permitted in a public use district, but can be in a ag district.
The proposal now moves to the Syracuse Town Council for it to consider at its March 19 meeting.