ANDERSON – The proposed 120-megawatt Lone Oak Solar Farm has to appear a second time before the Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals.

In June, the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) approved a special use for the $110 million project being proposed by Invenergy by a vote of 3-1.

The BZA-approved measure requires a 500-foot setback from non-participating residential structures and 200 feet from property lines. However, an agreed-upon waiver between Lone Oak and each non-participating resident would make possible a setback of 250 feet from a residential structure and/or a property line setback of 100 feet.

The Madison County Council in June did approve an amended economic development revitalization designation for the project that was originally proposed on 850 acres in northern Madison County.

The expansion of the economic development revitalization area was needed because the BZA approved a special use exception for the project, which increased the size of setbacks from non-participating property owners.

Katya Samoteskul, project manager for Invenergy, said in June the amended revitalization area represents a slight change.

“The setbacks, when applied, cut down the area for the project by one-third,” she said. “We need to acquire more land.”

Invenergy officials have not indicated how much additional property is required.

Brad Newman, director of the Madison County Planning Department, said Invenergy has to appear again before the BZA because the original 850 acres for the project was reduced as a result of the setback requirements.

“They want to increase the size of the project back to 850 acres,” Newman said.

The request could be considered by the BZA on July 30 at 9 a.m. in the council chambers of the Madison County Government Center.

Company officials were scheduled to request a 10-year tax abatement at the Madison County Council’s June meeting, but it was tabled to allow more time for public comment.

Anthony Emery, president of the Madison County Council, said Friday the tax abatement request will not be considered at Tuesday’s meeting.

“They have to return before the BZA for the expanded area,” he said. “We won’t consider the tax abatement request until all the required approvals are in place from the BZA.”

Invenergy has agreed to pay $850,000 to the county once the project is operational.

The company maintains it will pay $26.4 million over the 35-year life of the project, not including property taxes paid by owners that have leased ground to the company.

Invenergy is seeking a traditional 10-year abatement — a 100% abatement on investment the first year, declining by 10% per year, until project is paying 100% taxable value in year 11 — based on a minimum investment of $100 million in the county.
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