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Shelby County commissioners mull over potential solar panel project

Posted at 11:04 AM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 11:06:39-04

SHELBYVILLE — They are all ears about the upcoming harvest in Shelby County and the opposition to a possible solar power project.

Signs opposing the project are popping up while there's a quiet effort from the company known as sPower to buy farmland to install solar panels. Homeowners are mobilizing and taking their concerns to the Shelby County Commissioners.

This body of government will make the final decision on a current ordinance that some call weak for lacking details especially on the enforcement of environmental, safety, and health rules.

"I have a personal preference I don't want them, but I'm not going to come on your farm and your property tell you what you can an can't do. It's allowable use if they meet all the guidelines," Shelby County Commissioner Kevin Nigh said.

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Nigh said he would like the current ordinance that lists all the federal agencies and groups that would set the standards for any solar project to be made clearer.

"Anything that spells that clearer is good," he said.

Commissioners are not set to take action until receiving recommendations from the planning commission and getting input from others. sPower has yet to file any formal permits or paperwork with the county, the commissioners said.

"I'd like to see the CEO and COO whoever in change to let us know something to be able to hold them responsible for whatever they tell us," Shelby County Commissioner Don Parker said.

The commissioners have rejected a recent call for a six-month moratorium to study the issue. All eyes now turn to the planning commission, which is reviewing the current rules.

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