ANDERSON — If the developers of the proposed Lone Oak Solar Energy facility want a tax abatement for the project they will have to start from square one.

The Madison County Council has corrected an administrative error by voting to rescind the economic revitalization area designated for the proposed Lone Oak Solar Farm.

Last year, the council voted to deny a 100% 10-year tax abatement for the proposed $110 million, 120-megawatt project in northern Madison County.

The Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals approved the special exception for the solar energy center project.

Invenergy officials have put the project on hold because of the denial of the tax abatement.

The council Tuesday voted 4-3 to rescind the necessary economic revitalization area for the project. Council members Lisa Hobbs, Fred Reese and Jerry Alexander cast the no votes.

The council’s action means if Invenergy wants to request a tax abatement for the project, the process has to start from the beginning with the designation as an economic revitalization area.

As the discussion began, Alexander said additional information was received from Invenergy this week concerning the project.

He said the Indiana Municipal Power Agency will be making a similar request for a solar project on land zoned for agricultural use.

“We need a legal opinion from the state legislature,” Alexander said. “What was their intention? We should postpone this for one month.”

His motion to table action didn’t receive a second.

Councilman Anthony Emery said the council’s attorney said the economic revitalization area designation had to be rescinded in a separate action from the denial of the tax abatement.

“Any future project will need another initial designation as an economic revitalization area,” he said.

Emery said all future requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Councilman Pete Heuer said Invenergy wants a $4 million tax abatement.

“I’m appalled that Invenergy attacked me in a flyer distributed to neighbors,” he said. “It was meant to bully us into changing our votes.”

The flyer mentioned Heuer and Councilman Steve Sumner as voting against the tax abatement and included the loss of tax revenues to local units of government.

“It speaks to the integrity of Invenergy,” Heuer said. “I’m dead set against them being in our county.”

Alexander said IMPA has received similar designations for tax abatements and has never been rejected.

“If we approve the designations for IMPA, we are being inconsistent,” he said. “It opens the county to a possible lawsuit.

“The Legislature left it up to each county’s discretion when it comes to economic revitalization areas,” Alexander said.
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