Following four public meetings, the Linn County Board of Supervisors voted 2-1 to approve the rezoning application for Coggon Solar LLC on Tuesday night.
The approval comes with two conditions the Supervisors added during the public meeting process. The two conditions include a vegetative screening buffer for occupied residences within 1,000 feet of the project boundary and a change to the decommissioning plan removing salvage value from cost calculations. Vegetation shall be planted for a minimum of 1,000 feet for each residence and shall be a minimum of 8 feet in height at the time of planting and a minimum of 13 feet in height at maturity. Additionally, the decommissioning bond will now reflect the full cost of decommissioning absent any salvage value (approximately $2.7 million).
“This project demonstrates that Linn County can be a leader in renewable energy production and traditional farming in the state of Iowa. Like corn and soy, solar harnesses the sun’s energy and is converted into clean energy for Iowans,” said Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers.
“Obviously, I am disappointed that this project is moving forward without the amendments to protect all property owners that I proposed,” said Linn County Supervisor Louis Zumbach.
“This vote represents a win for the people of Linn County,” said Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker. “We’ve empowered landowners to use their private property to harvest energy from the sun, as we all recognize that we must address our energy needs with renewable solutions that take into account the more urgent and severe dangers posed by climate change. Future generations will be proud of the actions taken by this government to support private property rights and put our people and planet first.”
Next steps for the project involve Coggon Solar LLC applying for building permits through Linn County Planning & Development before the start of construction. Once the permits are approved, construction on the utility-scale solar project can begin.
The timeline for these next steps is determined by Coggon Solar LLC.