(Glenwood) — Mills County officials are revisiting possible changes to an ordinance governing commercial solar projects.
During its regular monthly meeting Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., the Mills County Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to discuss and possibly approve several proposed amendments to Chapter 27 of the county ordinances involving utility solar. If approved, the amendments would then go before the county board of supervisors for review. Holly Jackson is the Mills County Building and Zoning Technician. In a recent interview with KMA News, Jackson says that the primary concerns addressed in the amendment involve proper preparatory and accountability measures taken by the developer and the county.
“If we have the right screening requirements, what types of panels and fencing would look like, and height requirements of the panels,” Jackson explained. “And to make sure there is a solid decommissioning plan in place — what that process would be to begin each project. You know would it go through the zoning board of adjustment or the board of supervisors?”
The board of supervisors recently extended the current moratorium on commercial solar projects until November 1. Among other things, proposals have included setting a minimum height limit to go with the county’s current 15-foot maximum limit and requiring proper notification and collaboration with other departments, such as conservation and secondary roads.
However, Jackson said a first draft of the amended ordinance is beginning to take shape.
“We are in a solid place with where the draft of the ordinance is and working with each of those departments in the county that would assist with that,” said Jackson. “Right now, we are exploring what the options are if we need any zoning district amendments to make adjustments to our matrix and we are also establishing a committee that would review all of this information as well.”
Jackson has also communicated with several other jurisdictions dealing with solar developers and ordinance revisions, including Linn and Johnson Counties officials.
In other business Tuesday night, the commission is expected to hear a presentation from Supervisor Richard Crouch regarding an ordinance governing carbon pipelines. Montgomery County officials have had an extended discussion regarding a similar ordinance, mostly in response to Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed Midwest Express CO2 Pipeline that would cut through the western portion of Montgomery County.