Massive solar project proposed for Butte denied permit

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Map of the proposed Basin Creek Solar Project in south Butte.

Courtesy Matt Vincent MICHAEL CAST

Some saw a greener future and economic perks, and some saw a massive eyesore blighting the rural landscape in Butte residents’ backyards.

The Butte-Silver Bow Zoning Board on Thursday made the decisive call, voting down a special use permit to build a gigantic 1,600-acre solar array in south Butte 5-0.

In their justification, Zoning Board members cited the pure size of the array, saying it would undeniably change the landscape of those who live in the Little Basin Creek area. They said the public’s strong opposition carried weight.

Board members said they supported green energy, and could get on board with a smaller version of the proposal in an area less intrusive to people’s way of life.

“It’s just not fair,” board member Tyler Shaffer said, imagining an industrial array of that magnitude in the residential area.

Shaffer, before the vote, recognized the immense effort the project proponents put into planning, then listed several reasons for his position.

“Although this

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