The Greensville County Board of Supervisors has heard the voice of its residents and has scheduled a public workshop to address the many questions and comments about solar facilities.
Greensville County recently approved two solar facilities and a third solar farm is now being proposed but several residents have been questioning the County’s Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance. They say that words contained in the language is open to interpretation and want to know exactly what the County’s interpretation about the plan and ordinance really is as it pertains to solar farms.
Greensville County’s Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance address solar facilities in the County, but does what they say reflect the community’s values?
Several people spoke up during the public comment portion of the public hearings on the solar farm proposals but it didn’t end there. Even more comments have been received during the open comment session of other meetings.
Comments from County residents are needed so you are invited to attend a public workshop on Jan. 14, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Golden Leaf Commons (1300 Greensville County Circle, Suite B.) to learn what the County’s land use tools currently say about solar facilities and to provide input.
If you cannot attend the workshop but have questions or ideas, please email or call Lin Pope at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (434) 348-4232.
Only days after the approval of the TradeWind Solar Project and the Meherrin Solar Project, the subject of the Fountain Creek Solar Farm application, which was submitted in October, came up at the Board of Supervisors meeting.
Allen Little, who has voiced his concerns over one of the other solar farm projects recently approved, asked the Board how many solar farms is enough and how many is too much.
Little said he has a lot of concerns and there is a lot of confusion, even with the Planning Commission and Supervisors. He asked the Board to meet with the public and hear concerns and answer their questions before entertaining the idea of approving a third solar farm.
Little said it was his understanding that Greensville County is receiving interest requests from solar farm companies on a weekly basis but the community wants to preserve the rural area of the county and wants to know how many solar farms is the County willing to approve.
He noted that the Comprehensive Plan calls for solar farms to be in appropriate locations but doesn’t clarify what an appropriate location is apparently, because he thought one of the solar farms would not have been approved because of its close proximity to residential areas. The other solar farm was in a remote area, he noted.
“We need to get a handle on where this is going,” Little stressed. How many solar farms is too many? How many solar farms are enough?”
He also talked about the potential for ground and water contamination from the solar panels which will most likely be made in China. Little said he has read where the panels contain lead, plastics and zinc. He noted that farmers wouldn’t be able to plant peanuts after the solar farm was decommissioned due to the zinc use.
“A lot of people are concerned about this,” he said. What do you consider detrimental and can we have any input in this? I would like to know what my representative feels about this. I would appreciate it if the public could be involved in the process.”
He went on to say that there is a lot of conflicting information about solar farms and pointed out that although the representatives of the solar farms approved said that the farms are economical he read where the electric company is raising rates to pay for the solar farms.
Benny Ligon said he wanted clarification on the wording in the Comprehensive Plan and thought the Board needs to be more transparent in their process. He said the Brink area is now saturated with solar panels.
Ligon said if the third solar farm is approved that 15 percent of 18,000 acres in the Brink area would have solar panels on them. “That’s too saturated,” he said, noting that even more companies will want to put up solar farms.
“We are going to keep coming to the meetings until you understand that we are opposed to this. People are coming out of the woodwork,” he said.
The supervisors voted unanimously to let the Planning Commission undertake a review of sections of the County’s Comprehensive Plan dealing with solar facilities and to make recommendations for its revision.
The Board approved a contract with The Berkley Group to undertake a study of the Comprehensive Plan and to recommend changes and updates.