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Alton solar farm gains approval / March 08, 2018
Halifax County Supervisors on Monday night unanimously approved a conditional use permit for a second solar farm to operate in the county. The Alton Post Office Road Solar project, owned by Urban Grid, is planned on 502 acres (six parcels) on both sides of Alton Post Office Road near Hendricks Road and Mt. Carmel Road.

In approving the permit, supervisors heeded the unanimous recommendation of Halifax County Planners to green-light the project, contingent on meeting 26 land use conditions.

Only one resident, Keith Penny, objected to the solar farm. Penny told supervisors that he felt the project would be an “eyesore” and fears that the vegetative buffer planned for the project —three foot tall trees — will not grow fast enough to shield the solar farm from view.

Penny also said he was concerned about the solar farm’s impact on the value of neighboring real estate. He also said he did not want to be awakened by the sound of bulldozers at work at 6 a.m. in the morning.

In response, Roger Bowes, representing Urban Grid, pointed to a study commissioned by the company that showed there would be no negative impact on property values by having a solar farm nearby.

Bowes also told supervisors that the solar farm project should generate enough income to allow the three landowners to keep their property.

Bowes also said changing the setback from 25 feet to 100 feet, with a 25 foot buffer zone, would be agreeable to Urban Grid.

The company “has complied with every part of our ordinance,” said ED#1 Supervisor J. T. Davis. Referring to Bowes, “He has done a good job,” Davis added.

ED#6 supervisor Stanley Brandon, in whose district the project will be located, moved for approval of the permit. Brandon indicated that he was satisfied with the agreed-upon 100-foot setbacks along Post Office Road and 25-foot buffers. The vote in favor of the permit was 8-0.

The Alton Post Office Road Solar farm becomes the second such project in Halifax County to gain approval. In January, supervisors approved a conditional use permit for a 65-megawatt facility in Crystal Hill.

Following another public hearing Monday night, supervisors also approved a conditional use permit for Robert G. Fallen, III to operate a lawn care business at 2060 Wolftrap Road, South Boston.

The business also will have landscape supplies for sale, as well as local produce and crafts.

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