City Council gives OK for solar facility with modifications

By Kayleigh Rahn & William Rahn
The Tuscola City Council during its meeting Monday, Aug. 27 approved a special use permit for a solar facility proposal to be located along Egyptian Trail.

The proposed 2-megawatt solar facility would sit on 22 acres on the west side of the road, at 1298 Egyptian Trail, according to Cypress Creek Renewables representatives. The $3.9 million project interconnects with Ameren services, and the site would have the potential to service about 321 homes. Local spending during construction could reach about $2.3 million and local annual spending is estimated to reach about $27,000 following construction.

The application was introduced to the community during a Thursday, July 19 special use permit hearing where the Tuscola Planning Commission opted to not recommend the application for approval by the city council.

During the Monday, Aug. 27 meeting, David Striker, who is counsel for Cypress Creek Renewables, requested the city council members approve the permit with a modification to move the facility 600 feet to the west.

“We have listened to some of the comments made during the planning commission meeting, and in an effort to acknowledge those we optimized the footprint of the project and moved it 600 feet further from some of the occupied residences,” Striker said.

Matt Kauffman of Cypress Creek Renewables noted that in addition to the change in setback, the company added a vegetative buffer around the east and north side of the project.

“We believe that is a vegetative buffer that’s going to include evergreen, year-round species in that location,” he added. The trees would be between 3 to 5 feet tall when planted and grow up to 9 feet at maturity within three years and planted along the fence line of the facility.

Although two residents spoke with concerns that remained following the adjustments.

Angela Hawkins, a Tuscola resident, asked the counsel if this particular use of the dedicated land was in line with the city’s comprehensive plan, and Rich Lamb, Tuscola resident, voiced concern about the facility’s location, which would dead-end Washington Street for development to the south.

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Aug. 29 edition of The Tuscola Journal.

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