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Council to consider solar power farm

Troy will take two major steps this month in the potential recruitment of a solar power farm that would be located between Butter and Egg Road and U.S. Highway 29.

The Troy City Council is set to consider whether to give the company a tax abatement at their next council meeting on Tuesday, February 14, which representative David Herskovits said would be required to bring the project here.

Two days later the Board of Adjustment will consider whether to allow the group to have a special exemption that would allow for a portion of the farm to be in a residential zone.

Melissa Sanders, planning and zoning administrator, said that the exemption would block the possibility of another industry coming into the area if Eagle Solar Group decided afterward not to come or to leave the area after a period of time.

“This type of use is not specified in our zoning ordinances, but the board will look at what is specified and determine whether to make a special exception,” Sanders said. “The board has the authority to permit on special exceptions.

“They could request rezoning for industrial, but this is right next to our neighborhoods. If they permit it by special exception and it doesn’t work, then it goes back to what would be permitted by the residential zoning.”

Part of the property is zoned for industrial use, Sanders said, but a portion of it does fall into residential zones.

“This protects those residential property owners,” Sanders said. “Someone can’t automatically put industry on those portions if the board approves a special exemption.”

Herskovits told the Troy City Council last week in their executive committee meeting that the solar farm should not negatively affect property values as the collection of solar power is quiet and odorless.

“There’s no carbon output, no real noise, no pollution – it’s a strong investment without much pull on infrastructure,” Herskovits said.  Herskovits also told the council members that having the solar farm has the potential to draw international industries that would find the presence of “cutting-edge tech” attractive. As far as job creation, Herskovits said that the project would employ 450 to 500 construction workers for approximately 18 months while the farm is being built. Afterwards, it would employ two to five people for operations and maintenance.

The proposed site is a 186-acre tract of land with road frontage on the northern side of Butter and Egg Road, to the west of, but not including, 310 Butter and Egg Road and to the east and west of, but not including, the Bonanza Estates Subdivision on Arrowhead Road, as well as frontage along the eastern side of the railroad right-of-way running parallel to North Three Notch Street, north of, but not including, 1507 North Three Notch Street.

Sanders said interested property owners are urged to attend the public hearing on Thursday, February 16 to express their thoughts.

“The public has a right to come ask questions and let their voice be heard on this as well,” Sanders said.