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Wausau solar array project delayed after community complaints

After community complaints, the Wausau Water Works Commission has decided to delay their planned solar array project.
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 9:19 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - After community complaints, the Wausau Water Works Commission has decided to delay their planned solar array project.

Neighbors told the commission the array could be an eye sore. The commission reviewed comments from the public at Tuesday’s meeting and they decided they weren’t comfortable moving forward with the project without getting more input from neighbors.

The solar array project at Wausau’s new water treatment facility is making baby steps. The Water Works Commission voted to set up a working group with the neighborhood to help make compromise.

“It would really be great ultimately if we can actually enhance that area for the neighbors versus you know, detract from it,” Wausau Public Works and Utilities Director Eric Lindman said.

The commission also wants more time to investigate the potential use of additional property. The proposed solar array would be located at the site of the new water treatment facility on 1010 Bugbee Avenue. It’s something that neighbors aren’t crazy about.

“When I’m in my workshop in my garage, I’m 75 feet away from a potential solar array for blocks and blocks,” resident Peter Sells said.

Sells lives right across the street from the facility. He said he and other neighbors are not against solar power, but they’re worried about the scale and placement of the proposed array.

“It needs to be adjusted to fit the footprint of the site that’s the main concern the neighbors are having,” Sells said.

He also has doubts about the durability of the panels. Neighbors want to see landscaping done to surround the solar panels. The city wants to take extra time to perfect planning, so it benefits everyone involved.

“We have a lot of support throughout the city, we have a lot of other public comments who want us to move forward with solar and start, just charge right ahead. But, when you impact a neighborhood, you want to be as best a neighbor as you can,” Lindman said.

Lindman said the commission will be working with neighbors for the next two to three months, he hopes to have the plans worked out and presented to city council sometime in 2022.

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