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Halifax County supes take up solar permits, Alton project

SoVaNow.com / October 04, 2021
The Halifax County Board of Supervisors will meet tonight with two solar permits to consider — along with proposed changes to the county’s solar energy development ordinance.

The two community solar projects, located at Knollwood Lane west of South Boston and on Martin Trail in the Clover area, have both been recommended for approval by the Halifax County Planning Commission. Each facility would generate up to 5 megawatts of electricity and comply with the county’s solar ordinance.

The developers have pledged to make annual payments to Halifax County in lieu of property taxes, and planners found the solar arrays would have only minimal impacts on nearby landowners.

Final approval will be up to the Board of Supervisors, which is expected to vote tonight on issuing permits for the two projects. The board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and is set for the Bethune Office Complex second floor meeting room in Halifax.

Supervisors also are expected to take up a related subject — whether to change the county’s solar ordinance to require larger property setbacks for future projects. The supervisors’ ordinance committee has proposed setbacks of at least 150 feet from all rights-of-way and main buildings on adjoining properties, which would double the current required distance of 75 feet.

Solar arrays also would be required to have setbacks of at least 100 feet from adjoining property lines, up from the current minimum of 25 feet, and setbacks of 300 feet, up from 100 feet, could be made a condition for permits in specified situations.

Before the Board of Supervisors can amend the solar ordinance, it must hold separate public hearings prior to taking any votes.

Tonight’s monthly meeting features numerous other items on the agenda:

» Board members will be asked to either table or reject a permit for a Planned Use Development (PUD) by Babbs Engineering Consultants, which has proposed a mixed-use subdivision in the Alton area. The Alabama-based firm has put forward plans to build residential housing and commercial spaces across from Virginia International Raceway, in what the backers say would be an environmentally sustainable community.

However, county officials say the company has not responded to county staff’s requests for follow-up information. Babbs Engineering originally applied for a PUD permit in the spring and the Board of Supervisors held a May 3 public hearing in response. Since that time, consideration of the project — dubbed the Reflective Gateway Co-op Development — has been postponed twice, with little communication between the company and county.

County Administrator Scott Simpson advised supervisors that Babbs was asked to submit a final site plan and other information to the county by Sept. 15 for consideration at the October board meeting, and the company has not done so.

“With just preliminary staff review several items created questions and concerns,” wrote Simpson of the company’s proposal, adding that “multiple requests for additional information have been met with little results.”

The monthly board meeting starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public.



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Comments

I live in Alton and I am against this project.

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Im against any business operated out of Talibama.


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