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ENGIE files appeal over solar farm rejection

Kokomo Tribune|Tyler Juranovich |August 31, 2022
IndianaLegalZoning/PlanningPhotovoltaic Solar
On July 26, the county BZA voted 3-2 to reject ENGIE’s special exception permit application to build an 1,800 acre solar farm near Greentown. It was the second time the BZA denied a special exception permit request from the company. In its petition, ENGIE argues that it presented “more than substantial evidence” in support of the project, including an impact study from Kirkland Appraisals that found the project would have no effect on property values.

PERU — ENGIE, the multinational utility company, is appealing the Howard County Board of Zoning Appeals’ rejection of its attempt to build a solar farm near Greentown, arguing that the board was “capricious” in its ruling, its rejection was “unsupported” by evidence and that one board member was biased against the project.
 
Emerald Green Solar, LLC, the business name for ENGIE’s local solar farm project, filed last week a petition for judicial review in Miami County Superior Court I, asking Judge David Grund to rule in their favor, send the special exception application back to the BZA with instructions for the board to approve and to bar BZA member Jeff Miller from participating and voting in the matter.
 
On July 26, the county BZA voted 3-2 to reject ENGIE’s special exception permit application to build an 1,800 acre solar farm near Greentown. It was the second time the BZA denied a special exception permit request from the company.
 
In its petition, ENGIE argues that it presented “more than substantial evidence” in support of the project, including an impact ... more [truncated due to possible copyright]
     
PERU — ENGIE, the multinational utility company, is appealing the Howard County Board of Zoning Appeals’ rejection of its attempt to build a solar farm near Greentown, arguing that the board was “capricious” in its ruling, its rejection was “unsupported” by evidence and that one board member was biased against the project.
 
Emerald Green Solar, LLC, the business name for ENGIE’s local solar farm project, filed last week a petition for judicial review in Miami County Superior Court I, asking Judge David Grund to rule in their favor, send the special exception application back to the BZA with instructions for the board to approve and to bar BZA member Jeff Miller from participating and voting in the matter.
 
On July 26, the county BZA voted 3-2 to reject ENGIE’s special exception permit application to build an 1,800 acre solar farm near Greentown. It was the second time the BZA denied a special exception permit request from the company.
 
In its petition, ENGIE argues that it presented “more than substantial evidence” in support of the project, including an impact study from Kirkland Appraisals that found the project would have no effect on property values, that the Kokomo-Howard County Plan Commission’s finding of facts concluded the development would “not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community” and that it met the recently enacted county solar ordinance.
 
“The BZA had no rational basis for denying the Application, and the denial is not supported by substantial evidence,” the petition reads. “To the contrary, substantial evidence supported the Application’s approval.”
 
ENGIE also argues that Miller was “not impartial” during the hearing as BZA members are supposed to be. Indiana state law prohibits a BZA board member from participating or voting in a zoning matter in which he/she has a conflict of interest.
 
During the July 26 meeting and before his “no” vote, Miller, who owns Cornerstone Construction Consulting, a local company that specializes in custom home building and remodeling, claimed that two of the Howard County Commissioners told him they wouldn’t want a solar farm in their backyard and that he’s already lost two new home construction contracts in the area because of the proposed solar farm.
 
“Mr. Miller’s commentary about his communication with commissioners opposing solar farms in their backyard and the home building contracts he lost due to the Project demonstrate a conflict of interest and improper bias,” ENGIE writes in its petition.
 
As such, ENGIE is requesting Judge Grund to bar Miller from “participating, voting, or having any involvement or input” in any future meeting regarding the solar farm project if the judge decides to send the case back to the county BZA.
 
As of Monday, the Howard County BZA has not yet responded to the petition for judicial review.

Content truncated due to possible copyright. Use source link for full article.


Source:https://www.kokomotribune.com…

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