West Baton Rouge officials discuss new solar panels

Updated: Jan. 14, 2021 at 10:25 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - If you’ve driven past the vast empty fields in Port Allen located on Rosedale Road, you’ve most likely come across quite a few solar panels as well.

These were put in place not too long ago, and without much slowing down the process. Kirk Allain is the chairman of the West Baton Rouge Parish Council and says the lack of oversight worried some of the people in his parish.

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“I think a lot of people are concerned about the project that they’re hearing about coming in Rosedale, talking about the solar panels. And like I said in the meeting we don’t have any application right now to rezone property for this new solar panel project,” said Allain.

Up until now, if a company wanted to come in and build a solar plant in the parish, there were not many rules in place to give parish leaders a say in what that project would look like. The West Baton Rouge Council changed that with a new zoning ordinance.

“And the reason we did this is so when we do, we can do it with special use where we can set boundaries and say what we need done or we don’t put it. And so there’s a decision being made for it so we don’t just put one anywhere in West Baton Rouge Parish,” said Allain.

Some attended the meeting to express their concerns, and others like Andrew Williams, who works for the company that operates and manages the solar panels, came to the meeting to introduce himself and assure the public that their company wants to work with the parish and the families living nearby.

“So the long-term goal is to be a good neighbor here in West Baton Rouge Parish, we’re here for the long hall and we’re the longer-term operator of this facility”, said Williams.

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