Commissioners amend solar ordinance, send it back to plan commission

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Zoning amendments to regulate solar fields in unincorporated areas are being sent back to the Bartholomew County Plan Commission.
Indiana statutes state the proposed amendments must go back to the plan commission because the Bartholomew County Commissioners made a number of changes to the recommendations approved on first reading last week.
A key term in the revisions suggested by Tony London and approved by all three county commissioners is “non-participating property,” which London defined as a neighboring property owner who does not want the solar field.  The changes are:
  • Setbacks of a solar field shall be 200 feet from all non-participating property lines.  No exceptions, including property separated by roads. A 200 feet setback will also be in effect for schools, churches and residential zoning districts.
  •  Setbacks of a solar field shall be 500 feet from all non-participating residences.  No exceptions will be made unless both property owners sign a waiver.
  •   Variances will be allowed to be made in agreements between the property owners and the developers.
  •  All wording regarding the size of a parcel of property should be taken out.

No changes were requested by the commissioners for the recommended 500 feet setback for a substation. There will also be no charges to the one-half mile setback from any city or town’s corporate boundaries.

While the county plan commission may consider the matter when they meet next on Nov. 9, city/county planning director Jeff Bergman said the commission may want to schedule a separate meeting because it is required to have a public hearing.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.