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Lawsuit filed to stop Crystal Hill solar farm

SoVaNow.com / February 12, 2018


A Crystal Hill landowner has filed a civil lawsuit to block construction of a solar farm next to his property and overturn the conditional use permit that county supervisors issued for the project four weeks ago.

Plaintiff Bud Capps, represented by attorney Michael A. Cole, is a resident of North Carolina who owns land adjacent to the proposed Crystal Hill solar farm. The lawsuit names two defendants: the developer, Crystal Hill Solar, LLC, owned by Urban Grid Solar, and the Halifax County Board of Supervisors, which by approving the conditional use permit made the Crystal Hill solar farm the first of its kind to receive the county’s go-ahead for construction.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Halifax County Circuit Court, seeks a temporary halt until a permanent injunction can be issued to kill the project outright. Lacking that, Capps is asking for an award of $100,000 from Crystal Hill Solar to compensate him for the diminished value of his land.

Crystal Hill Solar, LLC obtained a CUP to build a utility-scale, 65-megawatt solar farm located on the south side of Crystal Hill Road (Route 610) near the intersection with Woodchuck Trail.

The proposed solar farm, which would be located on land currently owned by W. Maynard Gregory, totals 629 acres, some 300 of which will be used solar panels.

In the Feb. 7 court filing, Capp alleges both procedural and substantive causes of action. Capp claims that the Board of Supervisors failed to provide adequate notice of the project to interested parties, including adjacent landowners.

Capp further claims that the Board failed to obtain an environmental impact statement to identify potential changes in weather patterns that might adversely affect his property.

In addition, Capp claims the project will be a nuisance and eyesore, and does not comply with the County’s Comprehensive (Zoning) Plan.

“The Board, in its zeal to increase the County’s tax base by approving the project, ignored and/or sacrificed the legitimate property interests of local property owns such as Plaintiff,” the lawsuit reads.

Roger Bowers, who represents the real estate interests of Urban Grid, commented that his client “is in the process of hiring a trial attorney and all inquiries will be directed to that person.”

Neither Jim Halasz, county administrator nor Halifax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dennis Witt were immediately available for comment on the lawsuit.

On Oct. 24, interested Crystal Hill community members and landowners attended a community meeting organized by Urban Grid. The meeting provided attendees the opportunity to ask questions or voice concerns about the proposed project.

At a public hearing before the Halifax County Planning Commission on Nov. 21, parties for and against the proposed project voiced their opinions and concerns. The commission voted unanimously to recommend the Crystal Hill solar project to the Halifax County Board of Supervisors.

The Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on Dec. 4, which, again, allowed for public comment on the Crystal Hill project.

At their regular meeting on Jan. 8, the Board voted 7-1 to approve the CUP for Crystal Hill Solar, LLC.

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Comments

Wise choice of attorney. Home grown Michael A. Cole is the best that ever was and the best that ever is. Whoooo!

Comments

So you are ok with our taxes going up to help some non resident increase his property values. I have never understood some people that always want their property values to go up and up!?!?! This is one thing that may keep our tax rates low during the court house an school mess and you are cheering a lawsuit that the county is going to have to shell out money for? What an idiot!


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