Starke County Commissioners Approve Solar Farm Ordinance

Solar panels as seen on the grounds at the Kankakee Valley REMC site on U.S. 30 in Wanatah. Photo provided.

A solar farm ordinance approved by the Starke County Commissioners will be in effect once it is signed.

The ordinance discusses the regulation of permitting commercial solar energy systems in agriculture jurisdictions in Starke County.  It spells out parcel line setbacks, height limit, noise limit, landscape buffer, and application procedure, and more. 

Commissioner Kathy Norem said she visited a site at Larry Wappel’s farm and gained perspective on the entire process.  There were two clarifications that she would like to see added to the ordinance.  Companies who install a solar energy system shall pay for any road damage incurred on county roads and the permit for such a venture would need to be a special use permit.  A special use permit would allow the plan commission members to review the plans for a potential solar energy farm and make additional comments or recommendations on the plans. 

The commissioners approved the ordinance, contingent upon the additional clarifications added to the document.  They could sign the document once those changes are made. 

The draft ordinance, without the clarifications, can be found below: