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Proposed solar farm in Manchester Township nixed amid resident concerns

Solar Array
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Solar Array

A large solar farm proposed for Washtenaw County’s Manchester Township has been denied a permit after an outpouring of community opposition.

Representatives of the proposed Thorn Lake Solar project went before the township's planning commission back in April. They maintained the 159-acre solar farm would bring $5 million in tax revenue, and 20 megawatts of energy.

But residents, like Allison McKenzie, who owns a horse farm a half-mile from the proposed site, argued that it would be an eyesore - and a threat to their property value.

"The person selling the field or leasing the field benefits financially, but the people living around the area don’t. And I want to be able to potentially sell my farm in a few years, and I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to.”

The Manchester Township Planning Commission this past week denied a zoning permit for the solar project by a narrow margin. The majority said it was not compatible with the natural environment.

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Cathy Shafran is WEMU's afternoon news anchor and local host during WEMU's broadcast of NPR's All Things Considered.
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