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UPDATE: Rezoning requests for a pair of industrial-scale solar projects near the former Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo are now just one step away from final approval by the Linn County Board of Supervisors. After public comments from 34 speakers Tuesday night (Aug. 30) at the Palo Community Center, the Linn County Board of Supervisors voted 2-1 on the second consideration of rezoning requests from NextEra Energy for two large two large solar generation projects in the western portion of Linn County, dubbed Duane Arnold Solar I and II. The result was the same as the 2-1 vote Monday night (Aug. 29), which capped a five hour-plus public hearing and informational presentation, also at the Palo Community Center. In obth cases, supervisors Ben Rogers and Stacey Walker voted to approve the rezoning requests, while supervisor Louie Zumbach voted to deny. The proposal would change the zoning in the project areas from agricultural to agricultural with a renewable energy overlay. As he did at similar public meetings regarding Clenera’s planned solar installation near Coggon in northern Linn County – a project approved by the board in January – Mr. Zumbach at Monday’s meeting proposed a negotiable setback of up to 1,250 feet from neighboring landowners who aren’t participating in the project, saying the proposal would treat rural residents more fairly than the 300-foot setback in NextEra’s plans. The motion failed on a 2-1 vote. Mr. Zumbach also challenged the county’s evaluation of the both the Coggon and Duane Arnold Solar projects, asking county planning and zoning director Charlie Nichols if he felt the county had “followed the best process” in reviewing the proposals. “There have been bumps along the way in this process,” Mr. Nichols responded. “Do I think we’ve done it the best it could be done? No. I think we still have things to learn as we continue to work with these type of projects.” One more public meeting is scheduled to gather public input on the proposals and for the board to vote on the third and final consideration of the rezoning requests. That meeting is for Tuesday, Sept. 6 beginning at 6 p.m., also at the Palo Community Center.