EUREKA — A judge has granted permission for Sol America Energy to build a solar farm southwest of Eureka.
The decision by Judge Charles Feeney for a special-use permit came despite open protests by city residents and a lack of support by the Woodford County Board and city of Eureka.
“Woodford County’s denial of the subject special-use permit was arbitrary, unreasonable, bears no substantial relation to the public health, safety and welfare, and violated Sol America Energy LLC’s rights to both substantive and procedural due process,” the judgment read.
The directive went on to say, “Sol America Energy LLC is granted a special-use permit to operate a solar energy system on the subject project … pursuant to Sol America Energy LLC’s application and consistent with Woodford County ordinance without any further action by the county. If Sol America Energy LLC requires further documentation of the granting of the special-use permit from the county or county offices, the County Board shall provide the necessary documentation.”
The decision followed months of debate before the County Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.
Several property owners and the city opposed the permit. Inaction by the County Board at one point ended Sol America’s quest for the special-use permit.
In a final move last year, the County Board overwhelmingly voted against the permit, which spurred the court action and a request for a summary judgment.
The main objection to building the solar farm was its proximity to the Eureka city limits. The proposed site is on farmland located near, but outside, the city limits.