Linn County Planning & Zoning Commission to hold special meeting on solar ordinance changes

Meeting set for Wednesday, Aug. 16 at Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center

NextEra Energy Resources solar project
The Sunshine Gateway Solar Energy Center in Wellborn, Fla. CREDIT NEXTERA ENERGY RESOURCES

The Linn County Planning & Zoning Commission is holding a special meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 16, to hear proposed ordinance changes for utility-scale solar projects in Linn County.

The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center, 935 Second St. SW.

There will be opportunities for public comment during the meeting.

At the meeting, the Planning & Zoning Commission will make a recommendation to the county board of supervisors regarding the proposed solar ordinance changes. The supervisors will then review the updated solar ordinance at public meetings, currently set for Tuesday, Sept. 5, Wednesday, Sept. 6 and Wednesday, Sept. 13.

A draft of the proposed ordinance changes is available on the Linn County website.

The ordinance revisions were driven by issues raised during the board’s consideration, and eventual approval, of utility-scale solar projects near Coggon and near the now-closed Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo.

Linn County Planning & Development staff used statements from the Renewable Energy Review Committees, board of supervisors, and the public to draft the proposed ordinance changes.

The Renewable Energy Review Committees are four special-purpose advisory committees formed for the specific goal of exploring parts of Linn County’s Renewable Energy Overlay zoning district requirements for utility-scale renewable energy projects.

The four committees focused on: Good Neighbor Practices (setbacks and screening), Battery Energy Storage Systems (placement and safety considerations), Balancing Agriculture and Solar (vegetation requirements, agrivoltaic considerations), and Lifecycle Costs (decommissioning plan requirements and considerations, operation and maintenance plan requirements and considerations).

In addition to the proposed ordinance changes, staff also created a Linn County Utility-Scale Solar Scorecard to assist in the evaluation of utility-scale solar project applications. A draft of the solar scorecard is available on the Linn County website.

For more information on the utility-scale solar permitting process in Linn County, visit