Starke County Commissioners Clarify Conditions in Solar Energy Ordinance

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

The Starke County Commissioners clarified a few items in the solar energy ordinance before approving it last week. 

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, an application procedure, and more.

In a previous setting, the commissioners approved two clarifications to the solar energy ordinance in that solar energy farms or systems would need a special use permit.  Plus, if damage occurs to county roads from trucks hauling equipment to an installation site, then the contractor would be responsible for the repair of those roads.

It was sent back to the plan commission whose members determined that the way that the ordinance is written outlines enough conditions where a conditional use permit is not required. 

Plan Commission Counsel Martin Bedrock said the proper wording should include “location and improvement permit” rather than “special use permit”. 

That clarification was met with unanimous approval by the Starke County Commissioners.  The provision concerning the damage to roads was left without further amendment.