County continues scrutiny of solar ordinance

File photo

Protecting field tiles covered during meeting

CLINTON — The county board’s land use committee is moving steadily toward modifying the ordinance governing the installation and operation of commercial solar energy facilities.  Committee members met Monday to continue the process.

At the prompting of committee member Buck Carter, a discussion began about ordinance language to safeguard drainage tiles in the areas of solar energy plants.  A distinction was drawn between tiles that serve single farms and those which are shared, known as “mutual” drainage tiles.

“The drainage code allows for, I believe it’s a 30-foot buffer on either side of a tile,” said committee chairman Terry Ferguson.  “I think the surface drainage easement is like 300-feet wide to allow for bringing in earthmoving equipment to reshape the surface drainage if necessary.”

Ferguson said he felt, as part of a solar project, it was important for mutual tiles to be located as well as the primary tiles serving individual farms. 

“Because those tiles drain the neighboring farms,” Ferguson said.  “They don’t just drain the farms hosting the proposed solar farm.”

Ferguson said past discussion concluded that tiles belonging to individual landowners would involve civil legal action if those tiles were damaged in the installation of a commercial solar project.

“But, I still contend the only way you can actually protect that tile is to locate it and make sure they don’t build anything over the top of it,” he said. 

• See the complete story in the Friday, July 16, print edition of the Clinton Journal or now in the Journal E-Edition for subscribers.

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