CENTRAL CITY, Iowa (KWWL) – The Linn County Board of Supervisors voted 2-1 Monday night time to support rezoning 750 acres of top quality farm land for use for a photo voltaic farm west of Coggon.
The venture nonetheless wants two extra affirmative rounds of voting earlier than it’s formally permitted; the subsequent spherical of voting is scheduled for Thursday.
The applicant for the venture is an Idaho clear power firm referred to as Clenera. The group operates 25 photo voltaic farms throughout the nation, together with one close to Wapello in Louisa County.
Clenera is proposing to function the photo voltaic farm for 35 years, then take away the panels, restore the land and provides it again to farmers in north Linn County. The firm says it has gotten voluntary leases signed for 100% of the land wanted for the venture.
The landowners who’ve signed these leases haven’t been very vocal at public conferences. But a number of landowners adjoining to the venture have opposed it for months.
“Linn County used to guard farmland. Somewhere within the backrooms of forms –I imagine– that objective was deserted,” Marty Robinson mentioned. Robinson’s siblings personal lots of of acres adjoining to the venture website.
The Robinsons really feel this venture will devalue their land, will harm their drain tile irrigation system, and can set a regular that the county doesn’t worth farmland.
The Robinson’s have a separate, distinctive gripe with the venture as properly: In 2014, the Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) rebuilt its substation on Linn-Delaware street, within the northeast nook of the at present proposed venture website.
Tom and Laura Robinson say throughout that rebuild, CIPCO broken their drainage tile past restore.
“CIPCO constructed proper over our tile primary…regardless of months and months of our household working to get this mounted, nothing has modified,” Tom Robinson mentioned.
CIPCO is now asking to broaden its substation to accommodate elevated electrical energy from the Coggon Solar Farm. Its request was tabled on the December Board of Adjustments assembly as a result of the board mentioned an engineer wanted to analyze the Robinson’s property first.
“All tile in our view has been mounted,” CIPCO CEO Bill Cherrier mentioned. “CIPCO has taken steps traditionally to repair tile, and that continues. There’s an investigation being achieved proper now.”
Despite these considerations, over a dozen individuals spoke in support of the venture Monday night time. Many individuals drove from Cedar Rapids to the Linn County Fairgrounds in Central City to point out their support for clear power.
“My first response to a large-scale photo voltaic venture in Linn County is ‘lastly,'” Martin Smith mentioned from Cedar Rapids. “It’s been clear because the Nineteen Eighties that we won’t burn the type of coal to generate electrical energy that we would like.”
Former Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett mentioned there are companies coming to Cedar Rapids that demand entry to wash, renewable power.
“The board of supervisors has made it clear; their dedication to sustainability, renewable power. And over these years, individuals have taken observe,” Corbett mentioned.
After listening to from over 40 individuals and presiding over a 4.5-hour assembly, the supervisors lastly voted simply after 10:30 p.m.
Supervisor Louis Zumbach added two amendments to the venture earlier than it handed. One was a provision that photo voltaic panels have to be positioned at the least 28 inches off of the bottom. This was as a result of county Resource Conservationist Jon Gallagher mentioned the optimum seed combine to go beneath the photo voltaic panels would develop to at most 28 inches.
The second modification was a further “tender buffer” of 950 ft for adjoining property house owners just like the Robinsons. The venture already has a 300 ft. laborious buffer, however with this modification, landowners can negotiate with Clenera for cost if Clenera desires to construct inside 1,250 ft. of a longtime construction, based on Zumbach.
More amendments will probably be mentioned at Thursday’s second consideration.