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Initial approval sought for Crystal Hill solar facility / December 04, 2017

The Halifax County Board of Supervisors will hear comments at tonight’s meeting on a request by Urban Grid Solar to operate a solar farm in the Crystal Hill area — a project requiring a conditional use permit that county planners unanimously voted to recommend on Nov. 21. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.

This will be the first of several solar farm projects to come up before supervisors for approval. The public hearing on the Urban Solar permit request will takes place in the second floor meeting room of the Mary Bethune Complex.

The Maryland-based developer is seeking to build a 65-megawatt solar farm on a 629-acre parcel of land on the south side of Crystal Hill Road (Route 610) near the intersection with Woodchuck trail.

The permit is filed in the name of Crystal Hill Solar, LLC, an adjunct to Urban Grid Solar.

Urban Grid held a community meeting on Oct. 24 and appeared before the Planning Commission on Nov. 21. At tonight’s meeting, supervisors will make the final decision on whether to issue a conditional use permit for this project.

One issue likely to come up is a request byUrban Grid to amend a part of the county’s new solar energy ordinance that pertains to the decommissioning of projects at the end of their useful life.

At the Nov. 21 planning hearing, Roger Bowers, attorney for Urban Grid, explained that the county ordinance will require Urban Grid, or any other developer, to put up an excessive amount of security over the life of the project. In Urban Grid’s case, that requirement could mean spending about $900,000 to guarantee decommissioning work likely to cost around $2-$3 million, said Bowers.

Bowers would like the county to take into consideration the salvage value of the equipment netted against the estimated cost of decommissioning.

A separate public hearing at tonight’s meeting focuses on a request for a conditional use permit to allow John and Thelma Stevens to operate a gun shop at 10189 L. P. Bailey Highway in ED11.

Public hearings on both requests have previously been held by county planners, who have recommended approval of each of the applications.

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