Minutes: PARIS PLAN COMMISSION
December 17, 2018
Chairman Holloway called the December 2018 Town of Paris Plan Commission meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
Members present: John Holloway, Erin Pugh, Klaus Dierks, Jeff Gumm, Gene Weis, Jeff Badtke, Margaret Hefner and Town Supervisor Ron Kammerzelt. Also present – Attorney Chris Geary, Town counsel. Approximately 30 town residents and landowners were in attendance.
A motion was made by Erin Pugh and seconded by Klaus Dierks to approve the minutes of the November 19, 2018 Plan Commission meeting as presented. Motion carried.
Chairman Holloway introduced Robert (Bobby) Howard, Manager – Renewable Development, for Invenergy, LLC. Bobby made a PowerPoint presentation about solar electrical generation and how a generation array farm might be developed in the town. Following his presentation, there was a question and answer session with both the Plan Commission and Town Residents involved.
In response to questions, Bobby provided the following:
Solar generation peak output correlates with peak customer demand in the summer, so it is a very good fit for utility companies.
They are looking to secure 1,400 leased acres in the town. They currently have 1,300 acres committed. They intend to file an application in the first quarter of 2019 with the PSC, with the goal of bringing the project on line by 2021.
Properties involved in the project would be removed from the tax rolls and the town and county would receive payments from the shared revenue fund. Based on proposed generation figures, it is estimated that the Town would receive $330,000 in annual payments. Kenosha County would receive approximately $470,000 annually.
The arrays would be approximately 13’ tall on the high end. Ground cover would be established initially. Arrays would be constructed after ground cover was growing and established.
There is the potential for buildings to be constructed to house storage batteries, though they are not part of the initial project. However, their application to the PSC will include the request for them so they do not have to come back for approval.
Invenergy plans on working with none participating neighbors to limit impact, including vegetative screening and increased property line setbacks.
Project will not be “wall to wall” panels. System works best in 20 acre blocks. Approximately 35% of the leased acres would be covered by panels. They will avoid wetlands.
Once the project is approved and construction begins, the company will provide some form of financial surety to guarantee that there is sufficient money available to remove the installations in the event that the company becomes insolvent in the future. Invenergy is a privately held company.
The company has been made aware of the concerns about impact on drain tiles. They are committed to protecting existing tiles. They intend to create thermal imaging maps in the spring to identify as many of the tile lines as possible. In some cases, they intend to replace the tile systems so they can be located by GPS and avoided.
Bobby admitted that they have not done a project in a community where the majority of the land was “prior converted” wetland soils and they need to do additional research on the implications.
The arrays will be surrounded by fencing and access will be limited. The fencing will be 7’ high – a type of deer fencing. It will not be chain link fencing. Posts will be wooden. They need to do a study of wildlife movement in the community to insure the DNR that the project will not impact wildlife.
They will work with local emergency and rescue staff for training. The vegetation will be less than 18” high and they do not anticipate the potential for grass fires being an issue. They are exploring the possibility of using sheep to keep vegetation controlled. They will spray for woody invasive plants in the first few years but anticipate that the ground cover, once established, will control weeds and woody plants.
Once they have determined the location of all participating parcels, they will begin engineering to create a proposed lay out. They will be approaching neighbors to discuss concerns and will be holding additional open houses to keep community informed.
Jeff Badtke made a motion to adjourn. Second by Erin Pugh. Meeting adjourned at 8:24.
Minutes recorded by John Holloway