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ANDERSON – The Madison County Plan Commission has set a public hearing concerning a possible six-month moratorium on future solar farm developments.

The Plan Commission voted on Tuesday to conduct the public hearing at 9 a.m. June 28 at the Madison County Government Center.

The moratorium, if approved by the Madison County Board of Commissioners, would result in a review of the 2017 ordinance on solar energy developments in the county.

Any moratorium would not affect the already approved Lone Oak Solar Farm by the Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals and an application for a solar farm by the Indiana Municipal Power Agency.

Brad Newman, director of the Madison County Planning Department, said the six-month moratorium was requested by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Attorney Jeff Graham said the Plan Commission can only make a recommendation to the county commissioners. The commissioners could either adopt or deny the recommendation concerning the moratorium.

“The 2017 ordinance caused the BZA a lot of long nights,” Graham said.

Plan Commission member John Simmermon, also a member of the BZA, said county officials want to consider the provisions of the 2017 solar energy ordinance.

“When the ordinance was approved, we didn’t imagine a large solar operation,” he said.

Newman said the Plan Commission could consider a moratorium on any proposed solar energy developments above a certain acreage.

Graham said the moratorium could be lifted by the commissioners at any time if the solar energy ordinance is amended within six months.

The BZA last month approved a special use for the 120-megawatt Lone Oak Solar Farm being developed by Invenergy in northern Madison County.

The approved measure requires a 500-foot setback from nonparticipating residential structures and 200 feet from property lines. However, an agreed waiver between Lone Oak and each nonparticipating resident would make possible a setback of 250 feet from a residential structure and/or a property line setback of 100 feet.

“The setbacks are the biggest thing to be negotiated between the land owners and the developers,” Simmermon said.

Graham said any negotiated agreement between nonparticipating property owners and Invenergy will remain in effect if the property is sold.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

What's Next

Who: Madison County Plan Commission

What: Public hearing on proposed six-month moratorium on solar farm development

When: June 28 at 9 a.m.

Where: Council chambers, Madison County Government Center, 16 E. Ninth St., Anderson

​Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.