Appeals court agrees county erred in solar farm approval

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon appeals court has agreed with a state board that Jackson County improperly approved a large solar farm planned for prime agricultural land outside Medford.

The Capital Press reports that Jackson County commissioners last year approved the project proposing nearly 40,000 solar panels on 80 acres of prime farmland.

The group 1000 Friends of Oregon appealed to the state Land Use Board of Appeals. That board said the project by Florida-based Origis Energy didn’t qualify for an exception to the Oregon’s land use goal of preserving farmland because it’s not dependent on a “unique resource.”

The appellate court disagreed with some of the board’s interpretation of land use law, but still reversed the county’s approval of the project.

Meriel Darzen, a lawyer for 1000 Friends of Oregon, called it a victory.

A message to Origis Energy wasn’t immediately returned.