ANDERSON – Special exceptions for two solar parks have been approved but with the requirement that screen plantings be installed near residential properties.

The Anderson Board of Zoning Appeals on Wednesday approved the request from the Indiana Municipal Power Agency for the special exceptions for the construction of the two parks on 38th Street and Rangeline Road.

Emily Williams, project manager for IMPA, said solar park 3 will be located in the 2900 block of East 38th Street and contain 30,000 solar panels generating 9 megawatts of electricity.

Solar park 4, located in the 2900 to 3400 blocks of South Rangeline Road, will include 25,000 panels and generate 7 megawatts of power, she said.

The two new solar parks in Anderson and one planned in Madison County will be a $25 million investment by IMPA and generate 18 megawatts of electricity. Once completed, Anderson's solar parks will generate 35 megawatts of electricity.

Williams said construction will start in 2020 and the two parks will be operational in 2021.

“All the power will be provided to Anderson Municipal Light & Power,” she said. “There is no air emissions, no chemicals and the noise is similar to equipment already in neighborhoods.”

Mitchell Lakes, who lives on Church Drive, raised concerns about the surface water drainage from the 38th Street site and wanted the screen plantings.

“They want to build a solar farm in our neighborhood,” he said.

Lakes said it will be costly to deal with the standing water and drainage from the site.

He also voiced support for the construction of sidewalks along 38th Street.

Bonita Hughes, who lives on Rangeline Road, said she didn’t want to look at chain link fencing and barbed wire from her front porch and wanted the screen plantings installed. She also wondered about the impact on property values in the area and drainage.

Before any construction can start, a drainage plan for the two sites has to be approved by the Anderson city engineer.

“There have been several reports done on property values,” Williams said. “One cites the (IMPA) facility in Frankton near a residential area and there has been no impact on property values.”

The BZA approved the special exception requests, but with the requirement that screen plantings be installed near residential properties and sidewalks be constructed along 38th Street in front of solar park 3.

The Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals recently approved a special use for a 26-acre site along Rangeline Road for a solar park being developed by IMPA.

IMPA currently has two solar parks operating in Anderson.

The first was opened on Park Road in 2015 and generates 5 megawatts of electricity; the second, opened in 2017, is located on Madison Avenue generating 8 megawatts of electricity.
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