The Madison County Circuit Court has cleared the way for Lone Oak Solar Farm in northern Madison County. Our partners at The Herald-Bulletin report developer Invenergy delayed construction after the Madison County Council denied a request earlier this year for tax abatement for the project.
The publication reports Madison Circuit Court Division 6 Judge Mark Dudley denied the request for judicial review by opponents of the project.
“The court’s role in this judicial review case is to determine whether there existed a reasonable evidentiary basis for the BZA’s decision,” Dudley wrote. “The court is to presume that the BZA’s decision is correct, and the court is directed to give weight to the decision of the BZA due to its experience and expertise in this given area.”
The Herald-Bulletin reports the decision states that in order to overturn the Board of Zoning Appeals decision, the court must find it was arbitrary, and did not follow proper procedures.
“The court’s ruling merely determines that Lone Oak presented evidence that was more than speculation and that the BZA’s reliance on it was proper and not arbitrary or capricious,” Dudley wrote.
Dudley indicated in his ruling that Invenergy presented a property value impact study by MaRous & Company that stated there would be no impact on property value.
“Petitioners (opponents) have presented no argument or evidence that the Staff Report and the Cohn Reznick study on which it relies, and which also were submitted as evidence, are somehow unreliable,” Dudley wrote. “Instead at the hearing, Petitioners simply took the position the Staff Report is not evidence on which the BZA may rely.”
The Herald-Bulletin reports the original special-use approval was approved in May 2019, which included a 500-foot setback from non-participating property owners and a second special-use was approved for an additional 350 acres.