Solar Farms Not Up for a Vote at Tonight's Saline Township Planning Commission Meeting

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Saline Township planners won't be voting on solar farms when the planning commission meets Tuesday evening.

Invenergy, a privately-owned energy company, has been reaching out to Saline Township residents to lease land for solar energy developments. According to a source with the company, the developments are progressing well. But the company is not slated to speak at tonight's planning commission meeting, the source said.

Township attorney Fred Lucas confirmed the planning commission was not being asked to approve anything at tonight's meeting.

"Right now, there's nothing to confirm. Until there's an application, there's nothing for us to do but get our ordinances in order," Lucas said Tuesday afternoon. "No applications have been submitted."

Lucas said that Invenergy or any other company seeking to install a solar farm would need apply for a conditional use permit.

The township is in the process of amending ordinances that could impact how decisions are made on special uses. Currently, the township's planning commission is the final arbiter on applications for special use permits. Lucas said the township board wants to change the process so the planning commission is merely the recommending body and the board would have the final approval. While the township wrestles with that issue, there is a moratorium on special use permits, Lucas said.

Lucas said that when Invenergy does apply for a special use permit, the township will follow the public hearing process, which includes public notices.

An person working with Invenergy said things were progressing well in Saline Township. In May, an spokesperson for the company issued a brief update on the company's work in Saline.

"Invenergy is in the very early stages of considering a solar development in Saline Township. Invenergy develops sustainable energy projects where there is a robust resource, access to the electric grid, demand for the power, and landowners that want to participate. This stage of development is generally focused on landowner interest and resource assessment," spokesperson Beth Conley said.

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