County board blocks extension of wind, solar reviews

Gordon Woods / Journal — New board member Brian Riddle is sworn in by county clerk Dana Smith during the Oct. 26 county board meeting. Riddle was appointed to fill a vacancy.

CLINTON — Any company applying for a special use permit for a solar or wind energy project will be regulated by the ordinance in effect at the time of the application, state’s attorney Dan Markwell told county board members during the board’s Oct. 26 meeting.

That is the case for a special use permit for any purpose, Markwell said.

Markwell’s comments came as an effort to extend review of the county’s wind and solar energy ordinances was presented during the meeting.

Board chairman Terry Ferguson reported the land use committee had concluded its review of the county’s solar energy ordinance and forwarded it to the Regional Planning Commission (RPC).

“The RPC has started its process,” Ferguson said.  “They said they should have it completed at their next meeting.”

The ordinance would next move on to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).

The six-month review period set for RPC will extend a few weeks.  An application submitted before the review is completed would be governed under the existing ordinance.

“If anyone applies for a special use permit of any kind, solar or otherwise, it’s going to be dictated by the laws or ordinances in effect at the time they submit their application,” Markwell said.

Markwell said if amendments to the ordinance were already “in the process” and the applicants were made aware of this, they would be bound by the amendments.

Buck Carter presented a motion to extend the review of the county’s wind energy ordinance, also taking place during the same period as the solar energy review.

The wind ordinance review, which resulted in the county suspending issuance of permits for the Alta Farms II wind project, prompted Enel Green Energy to sue the county.  A judge ruled the county did not have the authority to deny the permits.  Most permits for the project had already been issued when the suspension was implemented.

• See the complete story in the Friday, Nov. 5, print edition of the Clinton Journal or now in the Journal E-Edition for subscribers.

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