Commissioner rejects commercial solar facility ordinance | News Sun
LAGRANGE — Following the advice of their attorney, the LaGrange County Commissioners Monday rejected a proposed Plan Commission ordinance regulating commercial solar facilities built in LaGrange County.
The commissioners approved an ordinance drawn up by the county attorney, Kurt Bachman, that rejected the Plan Commission proposal.
The move came as no surprise to Commissioner Terry Martin who also sits on the Plan Commission, or Robbie Miller, the county’s zoning administrator.
The Plan Commissioner passed its amended commercial solar facility ordinance in April and forwarded that proposed ordinance to the commissioners with a positive recommendation.
Bachman studied the ordinance for several weeks for suggesting the commissioners reject it.
Martin said the rejection is just part of the process.
“There were some issues we had, things in that proposal that I had some concerns about, but I wanted to hear some input from the other commissioners as well. That’s why we’re sending it back because there are several things in there that need to be addressed,” he explained after the vote.
Martin added that several other communities around the state are keeping a close eye on what LaGrange County does with this ordinance before they propose similar legislation.
“Believe it or not, there are a lot of other communities who are watching to see what we do with this ordinance,” Martin added. “This is new territory.”
He added that just because the commissioner rejected the proposed ordinance doesn’t mean it’s dead. Instead, he expects the Plan Commission members to reexamine their ordinance, and working with legal counsel, and make a few changes.
Martin doesn’t deny that the ordinance is needed. But he added that he wants these kinds of decisions to be made on the local level.
“I’m glad we’re doing this because I don’t want the state to come in because the state will be less restrictive,” Martin said. “The state won’t put our county’s best interest first.”
Martin said the two sides aren’t far apart.
“We’re going to get this worked out. It’s just going to take a little time. The things we are looking at aren’t big issues. They’re just things we need to address,” he explained.
Miller said she thinks the proposed ordinance will be reexamined by the Plan Commission members and that board’s attorney. Miller added she wasn’t surprised the commissioners rejected it.
“I think our Plan Commission attorney has some reservations about some of the wording but it’s a board of nine who vote whether to move it forward or not,” Miller explained. “There’s a lot of good things about the proposed ordinance, but there is some wording in there I think as a county we should probably be concerned about.”
If the Plan Commission opts to modify its proposal, the board will be required to again hold a public hearing on the ordinance before they can move it forward to the commissioners.
In other matters, the commissioners voted to continued a nuisance ordinance violation hearing against Gene Neely/BawldGuyNote Investment Group1, LLC after the county’s legal representative in the matter said he needed the extra time to continue to search for a proper address to mail the order.
The commissioners, however, did uphold a nuisance ordinance violation fine of $100 a week, retroactive to March 28, for a property owned by Peter Parisi Jr, of Wolcottville 6950 South C.R. 145 E. That property was deemed in violation of the county’s public nuisance ordinance by the Code Enforcement Officer Bill Stewart.