On Tuesday, the Marshall County Commissioners took official action on amendments to the county’s zoning ordinance about solar farms. 

County Plan Director Ty Adley told the commissioners that he and the Plan Commission did lots of research before approving the amendments to the zoning ordinance.  He said they did site visits, reviewed the Indiana code for large-scale solar projects, looked at solar ordinances from 10 different counties, and allowed several opportunities for the public to voice their concerns and questions. 

Adley reviewed the proposed recommendations that included placing a 12,000-acre cap on large solar projects in the county.  The amendments detail, setbacks, buffering, drainage, power lines, glare, noise, lay down setbacks, parking, environmental reporting, emergency response plans, stray voltage, grounding site plans, decommissioning, restoration, bonding, and financial assurances along with, force majeure.

The proposed amendments to the ordinance from the County Plan Commission were approved with an 8-1 vote.  Deb Johnson was the lone no vote.  Adley said 15 residents spoke during the Plan Commission’s public hearing in December, and 45 letters were read into the record, along with a petition that had 256 signatures of people who oppose using agricultural land for solar farms.

The County Commissioners passed the ordinance amendments on first reading by a 2-1 vote with Kevin Overmyer and Mike Burroughs in favor and Stan Klotz opposed.

The commissioners will conduct a public hearing on the zoning amendments at their next meeting on Monday, February 5.