The Linn County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved an updated ordinance for utility-scale solar projects.
The approval comes after the County’s third and final reading of the ordinance.
Some of the changes in the updated ordinance include:
- Minimum required panel height of 24 inches to encourage the establishment of diverse, native vegetation.
- Minimum setbacks for solar panels of 300 feet to occupied dwellings, and minimum setbacks for battery energy storage systems of 200 feet from property lines.
- Required vegetative screening for all dwellings within 1000 feet of solar project boundaries.
- New decommissioning plan requirements, including hazardous material testing and a requirement to recalculate decommissioning costs every five years.
- Noise limitations for solar and battery energy storage projects.
- Agricultural Impact Mitigation Plan and Vegetation Management Plan submittal requirements.
- Requiring the applicant to receive a minimum passing score on the utility-scale solar scorecard.
The updated ordinance comes nearly a year after the Linn County Board of Supervisors placed a moratorium on accepting utility-scale solar applications. The moratorium was placed to allow time for Planning & Development staff to create Renewable Energy Committees to help closely examine and analyze Linn County’s renewable energy standards – taking lessons learned from the two utility-scale solar rezoning applications approved by the County in 2022.
The current solar moratorium is set to expire Sept. 30th. All current solar site applications passed with a 2-1 vote.