In a double unanimous vote on Jan. 11, the Culpeper County Planning Commission denied a brand new conditional use allow utility submitted by a beforehand denied solar venture set for Stevensburg.
After being denied in May 2021, Maroon Solar, LLC launched a revised plan for its utility-scale solar facility.
One of essentially the most distinguished modifications to the appliance is the acreage of the venture.
Previously, in an utility reviewed and denied in May 2021, Maroon sought to assemble and function the 149 MW venture on roughly 1,792.08 acres, occupying roughly 970 acres of panel space.
Recently sought and no longer advisable by the fee included roughly 1,879 acres, occupying roughly 671 acres of panel space.
The property is situated alongside and between Route 617 (Raccoon Ford Road) and Route 658 (Mt. Pony Road) within the Stevensburg Magisterial District.
With a advice of denial from the fee, the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors will determine at a later date whether or not the venture’s location, character, and extent of the proposed venture is in accordance with the County’s adopted complete plan.
Within the primary movement for denial, Commissioner Katie Reames described the grounds for denial as, “not in compliance with Code Section 15.2-223 as the general location or approximate location, character and extent thereof is substantially not in accord with the adopted Comprehensive Plan.”
After passing with a 7 to 0, Reames once more made a movement to disclaim the appliance based mostly upon, “Article 17, conditional uses as it does show significant impacts that will adversely affect the health or safety of persons residing or working in the neighborhood of the proposed use…also does show significant potential impacts as stated in 17-1-1.2 to be detrimental to the public welfare to property or improvement in the neighborhood.”
Reames clarified her movement to say the numerous impacts included however not restricted to site visitors administration, stormwater administration and erosion and sediment points.
It once more handed with a 7 to 0 vote.
Prior to voting, the fee heard from numerous residents and organizations with their objections to the venture, together with the Piedmont Environmental Council.
“PEC is an advocate for solar energy, especially distributed solar and rooftop solar,” mentioned PEC Land Use Field Representative for Culpeper County Sarah Parmelee. “We are deeply concerned that the Maroon solar project, in its current form, will have a profound and lasting negative impact on the Stevensburg area.”
In March 2021, the fee voted 7-2 that the applicant’s utility-scale solar energy technology facility just isn’t a characteristic presently proven on the County’s Comprehensive Plan, but additionally that its location, character and extent are usually not considerably in accord with the excellent plan, citing three causes: environmental and future land use.
Despite Maroon interesting the fee’s advice, The supervisors headed the fee’s recommendation and denied the appliance in May 2021.
Since the venture was initially proposed in 2020, Maroon has taken under consideration feedback from earlier conferences and made a number of design modifications.
Those modifications embrace, in response to their allow utility, are:
Decreased the entire improved acreage from 970 acres to 671 acres.
Reduced the development period from over three years to between 18 and 24 months.
Increased the minimal width of all vegetative buffers to at the least 100 ft.
Increased the set again from Algonquin Trail from 1,500 ft to over 3,500 ft.
Increased the fence line setbacks from all residences throughout the neighborhood of the Project fence line from 1,000 ft to over 1,300 ft, apart from one home that belongs to a Project landowner who’s a robust supporter and whose home is situated 870 ft from the Project fence line.
Prohibited building site visitors entry on the Mt. Pony Road website entry. The entrance off Raccoon Ford Road shall be designated as the first building and tools supply entrance. The entrance off of Mt. Pony Road will solely be used for entry by operations and upkeep personnel as soon as the Project is operational.
Relocated the substation additional into the center of the Project in order that it’s at the least 3,000 ft from the closest residential property.
A brand new substation shall be constructed on website with the intention to connect with the prevailing Remington-Gordonsville transmission line that runs by means of the southern portion of the location.