116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Linn County Board of Supervisors on Monday will begin discussing a possible six-month moratorium on utility-scale solar projects.
A moratorium would allow the county to study and update its utility-scale solar ordinance, Linn County Planning and Development Director Charlie Nichols told The Gazette.
“The purpose of this moratorium is to incorporate the lessons learned from the Coggon project,” Nichols said. “Such as not using salvage value in the decommissioning plan, requiring 300-foot setbacks, requiring agricultural mitigation and vegetation plans, etc., in our code before we receive any additional applications for utility-scale solar projects.”
If enacted, a moratorium would not affect the contentious Coggon Solar project, which supervisors approved last month on a 2-1 vote, Nichols said.
A moratorium ordinance would require three votes by the supervisors, with the other two votes possibly following on Feb. 9 and Feb. 14.
The Monday meeting begins at 11 a.m.
The county’s current utility solar ordinance calls for a 50-foot setback from neighboring residences. Supervisors recommended a 300-foot setback for the Coggon project.
The moratorium discussion comes as another utility-scale solar project from NextEra is in the works near Palo.
Representatives from NextEra were at the Coggon Solar meetings in Central City last month as well, taking notes and observing how the county process played out.
A moratorium, if adopted, would prevent the company from submitting an application until the ordinance is lifted.
Governments enact moratoriums on a wide variety of issues to give staff time to study complex issues. For example, Iowa City placed a moratorium on accepting certain rental and building permits in 2017.
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