BEND, OR -- Two companies, Cypress Creek Renewables and Oregon Solar Land Holdings, plan solar farms on 70-acres along Highway 20, just east of Bend. Nearby residents objected, saying the projects do not fit in the neighborhood. Under Oregon law, solar farms are allowed in agricultural zones, as long as they meet certain criteria.
A Deschutes County hearings officer ruled in favor of the development, with some conditions. Jason Carr, with with Cypress Creek Renewables, tells KBND, “We anticipated with a project of this kind, the first really in the county, that the hearings officer would likely add some conditions. While we have to look more into them internally as a company, I don’t really see anything that stands out that would prevent us from moving forward.”
Conditions include installing a 6-foot fence with tan screening and no barbed wire; solar panels within 100 feet of property line cannot exceed 8 feet in height; developers must plant new shrubs at least 6-feet tall, and they must preserve existing landscape and topography. Both companies must also post $1 million bonds to Deschutes County.
Neighbors have until next Wednesday to appeal. If no appeal is filed, construction could begin in early 2016.