The Madison County Fiscal Court approved the initial reading of an ordinance that would allow for commercial solar facilities to operate in designated county zones. The measure was heard Tuesday during a teleconference meeting of the court.
The proposed ordinance would not affect property owners who want to use solar power for their homes. Instead, the law would apply to property owners seeking to build facilities that will collect, store or transmit solar energy for commercial sale.
Under the proposed regulations, commercial solar energy facilities would be allowed as a conditional use in the following sub-districts and zones: UC3 Neighborhood Commercial, UC4 General Commercial, UC7 Urban Agriculture, RC 3 Neighborhood Commercial, RC 4 General Commercial, RC 7 Urban Agriculture, C3 Rural Community Neighborhood, C4 Rural Community General Commercial, and C7 Rural Community Agriculture. With conditional use, plans for commercial solar facilities would be subject to the approval of the board of adjustments and county planning commission.
When submitted with a proposed development plan, commercial solar facilities would be a permitted use, subject to the approval of the Madison County Planning Commission, in the following zones: UC5 Light Industrial, UC5D Heavy industrial, UC8 Urban Development Resource Extraction, RC5A Light Industrial, C5B Heavy Industrial, RC8 Urban Development Resource Extraction, C5A Rural Community Light Industrial, C8 Rural Community Resource Extraction and R8 Rural Resource Extraction.
The Madison County Planning Commission recommended the change to the law during the commission’s June 16 meeting. Planning Director Bert Thomas noted farmers in the area have explored the opportunities that may result from commercial solar power, and he compared the opportunity for land owners to an owner renting out property for a cell phone tower. Land owners could then presumably sell their generated electricity to regional power companies.
Madison County Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor encouraged citizens to submit comments to the fiscal court before the final vote on the measure on July 14. Citizens can submit comments to email@example.com.
In other business, the fiscal court adopted an ordinance approving amendments to the county administrative code. Magistrates Tom Botkin, John Tudor, Roger Barger, and Judge Taylor voted in favor. Magistrate Larry Combs was not present at the teleconference meeting. Also approved Tuesday was the 2020-2021 ordinance providing guidelines for the drug free and alcohol free workplace.
In a second reading, the Madison County Code of Ethics was approved, along with a final vote on an ordinance enabling the county to join the Bluegrass Regional Radio Network, a regional emergency communications system that is expected to be more efficient, save money, and may potentially earn Madison County dividends along with co-owners Scott County. Georgetown, and the University of Kentucky. BRRN would enable other municipalities to subscribe to services provided by the new entity.
On the issue of animal control, a resolution was adopted for the county to apply for $2,500 in funds from the Kentucky Animal Control Advisory Board. If the county wins the funding, it will go to spaying and neutering of cats and dogs, officials said.
The court also approved the renewal of a contract with Bull Pen Grant Writing Services for $35,000 per year for a minimum of 40 hours per month. Magistrate Tom Botkin noted it is a good deal for the county since grant writer Tom Webb has earned the county a significant amount of grant money.
Concerning the CSEPP siren system, the court unanimously approved a measure to reject current negotiations with the provider of emergency sirens, and reopen bids. Officials justified the move noting that concerns about costs and services, which prompted the move to explore other options.
The Madison County Local Tax Settlement was approved for 2019, as the Madison County Sheriff’s Department collected 36,000 tax bills for $55 million in revenue that went out to the county’s various tax districts.
Also approved unanimously by the fiscal court:
• Jeff Renner was appointed to the Madison County Ethics Board.
• Full-time employees were awarded two personal days during 2020-2021 fiscal year. The decision stems from adjustments made as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
• Nathan Hines and Jaden Carpenter were hired as groundskeepers at Battlefield Golf Course.
• Steven Brock was hired for the Madison County Road Department.
The next scheduled meeting of the Madison County Fiscal Court will take place on July 14, 2020 on zoom.