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Hailfax County planners back SB Solar project on split vote / April 19, 2018
The Halifax County Planning Commission tackled a heavy agenda Tuesday night with six public hearings for four solar projects, a used car lot, and a mini-storage facility.

The hearing that generated the most interest was for a permit application submitted by SB Solar LLC, which the commission ultimately approved on a vote of 4-3 — with Jim Davis, Bruce Pearce and Rosemary Ramsey casting the dissenting ballots.

SB Solar LLC, owned by Cypress Creek Solar, wants to construct a 10-megawatt solar facility on 185.36 acres of property located at 2841 Huell Matthews Highway (U.S. 501) at the intersection of Dogwood Trail.

Adjacent landowners Roger Slagle, Roy Mitchell, Don Ellington, M. C. Day III, Kim Cole, Roger Slagle Jr. and Wendy Woltz voiced concerns that focused on the unsuitability of the proposed site for solar construction.

Although the land is zoned A-1 Agricultural, it is identified in the county’s comprehensive plan as an “Urban Growth Area” slated for future commercial growth. Community members worry this project will interfere with the county’s plans for growth.

Commissioner Mark Trickey added a contingency that required setbacks of 150 feet in his motion to recommend the SB Solar project to the Board of Supervisors for approval.

Zoning and Outreach Manager, Parker Sloan and attorney William Shewmake spoke on behalf of Cypress Creek and fielded questions from the commissioners and the public.

The commissioners unanimously approved Cypress Creek’s second project, Water Strider LLC, although this too it drew objections by several adjoining landowners.

Cypress Creek wants approval to install a 70-megawatt solar facility on 1,042 acres of property owned by Jenny Ruff, LLC and located at 1100 Jenny’s Ruff Trail in Nathalie.

Farmers Eddie Austin, Wayne Tribble and Rhonda Guthrie voiced concerns about the solar farm’s impact on property values as well as the possibility of climate change caused by the solar panels.

Sunnybrook requested an amendment to add 15 acres to the approved 245.8 acre, 51-megawatt Sunnybrook Farm Solar facility, located at the intersection of Clays Mill Road and Vaughan Lane. The land is owned is by John and Kathy Ambrose.

Powell’s Creek requested an amendment to add two parcels to the approved 544 acre, 70-megawatt Powell’s Creek Farm Solar facility, located at Hendricks Road and Alton Post Office Road. A parcel of 105.25 acres owned by Margaret Cole — received approval.

However, Carolina Solar withdrew the second parcel — 75.76 acres owned by John and Talley Hendricks — due to continued dissatisfaction by the Hendricks.

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