FORT WANE, Ind. (WANE) — At the Allen County Plan Commission’s monthly public hearing on Thursday, a topic that drew dozens of people to Citizen’s Square in downtown Fort Wayne was a potential change to the county’s zoning guidelines for ground-mounted solar panels.

A representative from the Board of Zoning Appeals — at the request of the Allen County Commissioners — presented amendments to current standards that would differentiate between zoning for individual homes or businesses versus large-scale ground-mounted solar panel farms.

The amendments call for solar farms in Allen County to be a maximum of 20,000 square feet and no more than 500 solar panels.

A third amendment would also require zoning requests for solar farms to be zoned under a use variance rather than a special use.

An Indianapolis-based company called EDB Renewables confirmed to WANE 15 on Thursday it is looking to expand to Allen County and it’s currently eyeing a solar farm project in Jefferson Township.

The company’s Executive Vice President, Tom LoTurco, said they’re working with property owners in Jefferson Township who want to use their land for a solar farm.

LoTurco spoke during the hearing in opposition of the proposed amendments. He said the use variance, which would require proof the land can no longer be used for its existing use to get it re-zoned, would make large-scale solar nearly impossible.

He later told WANE 15 he’d rather see it stay as a special use variance where individual cases would go before the plan commission for zoning requests.

LoTurco and others in the business of renewable energy asked the commission to table the vote and have further sit-downs and discussions with them about solar energy.

“Let’s look at what we can do over the next six months to insure that we have a win-win that balances all the issues between neighbors, between communities, and then also the landowners who would like to do the project,” LoTurco said.

Rumors of EDB Renewable’s efforts to bring a solar farm to Jefferson Township brought residents from there and the surrounding area to Thursday’s meeting to voice opposition to solar farms in their area.

Judy Gerardot submitted a petition with nearly 800 signatures, with more on the way she said, asking the commission to not allow solar farms in Allen County.

While none of them came out and said “we support the amendments,” in theory, their opposition of solar farms would support guidelines that make it harder to re-zone land for a solar farm.

“We are a rural area. We are a majority all farmers. It’s not a healthy thing and it’s not efficient. There really is no good to these solar parks,” Gerardot said.

The main arguments against solar farms were that they’re bad for the land they’re built on so they’d ruin good farmland, they’re not pretty to look at, and would ruin surrounding property values.

But the amendments weren’t regarding any specific solar farms. They were just about the county’s re-zoning guidlines.

Will the plan commission vote in favor of the changes or table for further discussion? The vote would happen at the commission’s next business meeting.

If a vote is held and it’s voted down, the commission would then send the measure to the county commissioners for a final vote.