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Crescent Solar Project Tabled Until January 6 to Address Neighbors’ Concerns

Oneida County Planning and Zoning

One Energy Development and the Dorothy Kopp Living Trust want to install and operate a seven and half megawatt solar facility in Oneida County.

They’re hoping to build it on a currently vacant lot along Highway 17 between Hat Rapids Flowage and Lake Julia. One Energy Development is currently in the process of obtaining a condition use permit from Oneida County.

The project has support from the Town of Crescent, Renew Wisconsin, and the Oneida County Economic Development Corporation, among others.

During the recent public hearing, Planning and Zoning Director Karl Jennrich read a letter of support from the Oneida County Economic Development corporation.

“Short term, it will provide construction jobs which will invest in our county,” read Jennrich. “Long term, it will provide renewable energy for the equivalent for over 1,850 average Wisconsin homes [and] reduce the state’s dependence on out of state produce energy.”

Credit Oneida County Planning and Zoning

There are some who oppose and have concerns about the project, mainly those that live adjacent to the property.

Some of the concerns of those homeowners included trees or brush used as screening around the solar field so they wouldn’t have to look at it, how far back the solar panels would be from the edge of the property, and construction traffic being directed onto Boyce Drive.

Jean and Daniel Gunst live off Boyce drive right next to the field. They bought the property in November of last year.

Daniel told the committee they wouldn’t have bought it if they knew this project was happening.

“We look out our living room window, kitchen windows and all that, all that we’re going to see is blades. This is supposed to be our forever, our retirement home,” said Daniel Gunst.

The Town of Crescent, who voted in favor of the project, is concerned about the damage to Boyce Drive during construction.

“A direct concern, or one direct concern of the town, is the condition of our roads. We would want you to put in a condition on that the, not for regular maintenance, but for construction. That for the term of construction that all the traffic be routed through Highway 17,” said Crescent Town Chairman Steven Richardson.

The Planning and Zoning Committee decided to table the discussion until January 6.

This was, in part, to give One Energy Development time to address some the neighbors’ concerns and to see if it could work with the Department of Transportation to use Highway 17, rather than Boyce Drive, as access to the field during construction.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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