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Person County rejects 920-acre solar farm, brings back moratorium

Triangle Business Journal|Evan Hoopfer |August 17, 2022
North CarolinaZoning/PlanningPhotovoltaic Solar

Chairman Gordon Powell said he worried about the decommissioning process if the site were to change ownership over the years. Commissioner Charlie Palmer said he thought solar farm development could harm the county's bald eagle population. Commissioners Derrick Sims and PJ Gentry each said they sympathized with property owners wanting to use their land how they see fit, but still in the end voted to deny the request. "I don't want to offend the property owners," Gentry said. "But I also want to take into consideration the rest of the county that we represent."


The Person County Board of Commissioners on Monday denied a special use permit that would have allowed for construction of a 920-acre solar farm and also voted to enact a six-month moratorium on solar development.

Both votes during Monday's regular meeting were unanimous.

The proposed solar facility was the subject of much debate in Person County. During a more than two-hour meeting in July, residents on both sides of the issue raised concerns and offered support. Property owners said they should be able to use their land as they see fit, while opponents said the facility, planned for the southeast corner of the county, could harm local wildlife and said the site is not a significant economic driver.

In the end, county commissioners offered different reasons for denying the project, which was proposed by Asheville-based Pine Gate Renewables.

Chairman Gordon Powell said he worried about the decommissioning process if the site were to change ownership over the years. Commissioner Charlie Palmer said he thought ... more [truncated due to possible copyright]

     

The Person County Board of Commissioners on Monday denied a special use permit that would have allowed for construction of a 920-acre solar farm and also voted to enact a six-month moratorium on solar development.

Both votes during Monday's regular meeting were unanimous.

The proposed solar facility was the subject of much debate in Person County. During a more than two-hour meeting in July, residents on both sides of the issue raised concerns and offered support. Property owners said they should be able to use their land as they see fit, while opponents said the facility, planned for the southeast corner of the county, could harm local wildlife and said the site is not a significant economic driver.

In the end, county commissioners offered different reasons for denying the project, which was proposed by Asheville-based Pine Gate Renewables.

Chairman Gordon Powell said he worried about the decommissioning process if the site were to change ownership over the years. Commissioner Charlie Palmer said he thought solar farm development could harm the county's bald eagle population. Commissioners Derrick Sims and PJ Gentry each said they sympathized with property owners wanting to use their land how they see fit, but still in the end voted to deny the request.

"I don't want to offend the property owners," Gentry said. "But I also want to take into consideration the rest of the county that we represent."

The board also voted to enact a six-month moratorium on solar farm development in Person County, citing the need to rework some of the county's rules and regulations around solar farms – the county has seen solar farms developed in the past. The board enacted a similar moratorium last year when several changes were made to the county's solar development ordinances.

A spokesperson for Pine Gate Renewables declined to comment on the board's action.

Solar development has taken off across the Triangle. A report from Triangle-based RTI International this year found investment in clean energy development in North Carolina increased from $56.5 million to $19.8 billion between 2007 and 2020. Ninety-one percent of the renewable energy investment across the state went to solar photovoltaic projects.

The Triangle's renewable energy investments track closely with the upward statewide trend. Triangle counties saw $1.14 billion invested in renewable energy over the same period.

Content truncated due to possible copyright. Use source link for full article.


Source:https://www.bizjournals.com/t…

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