May 7, 2020 Special Board Meeting Minutes
Sheridan Township Board of Trustees Meeting
May 7th, 2020
Call to Order: Richard Porter called the meeting to order at 7:01 pm.
Present: Roll call Randy Fisher, Scott Frederick, Shanna Pollman, Stephanie Craig, and Richard Porter.
Audience: Steven Lucas, Brien Heckman, Lance Lohrke, Christina Martins, Travis Narum, Emily Truebner, Wayne and Cathy Weaver, Chris Atkins, Tom Franks, Sean Harris, Doug Danks.
Approval of Agenda: A motion was made by Scott Frederick 2nd by Randy Fisher to approve the agenda as presented. Roll call vote; all in favor. The motion passed.
Public Comment: None
Discuss conditional use permit for Savion Solar Project: Brien scrolled through the new resolution. He noted that minor changes and clerical errors have been completed. It is a similar resolution to the one the planning commission submitted.
Subsection f. has been changed.
Subsection m. is a change. The zoning ordinance doesn’t have a provision of a final sight plan. The buyers have presented this condition. They will provide plans to show where everything is at the time of final construction. The current resolution states 50 ft., they might request 150 ft.
Section n - chain link fence provision has been changed. Deer fence needed a variance, so they want to clarify that it must be a chain link fence. Deer fence has been dropped and replaced with chain link.
Section u - firefighter training provision. Instead of a yearly amount, which was a rough estimate of $6,600 not including inflation, wage increases etc… the buyer is presenting section u., stating that they will provide experts to train the firefighters. There was discussion on whether this was acceptable
It was noted that the decommission agreement is still in place.
Savion – Travis - explained that the buyer wasn’t comfortable with an annual payment. Buyer says a dollar amount isn’t the issue; they are willing to compromise by funding the training for the fire department. They don’t want to put in a dollar figure. Also, they would like to ask for the ordinance for the one-year extension to be granted in advance. They know they would end up needing it anyway. They would like the site plan to move from 50ft to 150ft – with the explanation that as technology advances, the footprint could shrinks, and this would give them a more useable amount of room to shift things.
Brien stated that approval for the extension couldn’t be done until the Use Permit is approved.
Public Comment: None
Board discussions: Cost for training for firefighters was brought up. Chief Lance explained the training necessary. If the firefighters end up needing training on battery (if the solar has battery storage), it will add more necessary training. Do the solar panels need special supplies to control a potential fire on the solar field?
It is noted that one company seems to be picking up most of the cost since they paid for the fire truck at 142,000; it doesn’t seem right.
Savion explains the resolution that was presented to the board – the buyer just doesn’t want to put a dollar point in. They explained section u. – the safety plan would be gone over annually. Making experts available – essentially the fire department Chief would ask for training and the buyer would pay for it. Chris states that the buyer is prepared to meet the needs of the fire department based on the impact of the project – there is just a disagreement in the legality of the previous resolution. He says that if our focus is on training, this will work, and it avoids the issue of calculating costs. Scott would like the planning commission to look at the new resolution. He feels there should be more than just training included; it should also include supplies if they become necessary. Could it be changed to include supplies? Chief Lance doesn’t want to have to worry about having the proper equipment to fight a fire in the solar fields. Brien says it might be addressed with the safety plan annually. Randy is concerned about the fire department. We want to be sure that we have the correct finances to fight a fire on the larger scale that would be required for the solar fields.
Resolution – 50 vs. 150 needs to be discussed. Travis states it could be worded “no more than 50ft if moving toward a property or house, but up to 150 if moving away from a property or house”. The buyer doesn’t want to have go back to the board if it’s such a small change. Steven says that they want to work with what’s reasonable, not trying to move closer to a dwelling, more just for smaller movements. Clerical error in 2.I – should say “applicant” and not “application”.
It is concluded that the hang-up is not on the 50ft to 150ft or the 2-year extension; it is the fire training. The new fencing wording is now not an issue.
There is a time crunch now. Next Friday the 18th Savion’s $10,000,000 payment is supposed to be posted, and it won’t be approved without the permit.
Discuss amending fence section:
Vote on Resolution 2020-05 CUP for Savion: No motion was made to accept the new resolution.
Adjourn: A motion was made to adjourn by Randy Fisher 2nd by Shanna Pollman at 8:17, and to reconvene on Monday at 7:00. Roll call vote; all in favor. The motion passed.
Stephanie Craig, Secretary