Rockingham County Board of Supervisors table solar farm permit again

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 5:47 PM EDT
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Rockingham County, Va. (WHSV) - Back in September, Rockingham County supervisors tabled a decision to approve a solar farm permit.

At that time, Caden Energix Endless Caverns LLC wanted the board of supervisors to approve a permit to build a solar electric generating farm on two parcels of land off Craney Island Road and Hulings Lane, which is a couple of miles south of New Market.

Caden Energix envisioned 355 acres of land to feature 95,000 solar panels which, according to the company, would provide electricity to power about 6,500 homes for one year. According to a permit request, Dominion would be responsible for connecting the solar farm to the Endless Caverns substation, which is adjacent to the property.

According to County Administrator Stephen King, the board will discuss the permit again Wednesday night. Before the meeting, he was unsure if the board will take a vote on the permit, but the board paused the application last month to gather more information.

After discussion on Wednesday night, the county supervisors tabled the decision again, still wanting additional time to do their homework before making approving the permit.

Chairman Bill Kyger said they need to be “diligent and urgent” in making the decision and hope to have some possible resolutions by early 2021.

Before that, the supervisors want to hear from community members and professionals. The Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to create a committee to assist in the decision for the land in New Market.

“My recommendation would be to re-table this and to create a comprehensive solar ordinance to effectively evaluate this special use permit," Supervisor Brent Trumbo, who represents the district this affects, said. "I would hope a committee could be formed that would include the farming community, utilities. conservation organizations, engineers, solar firms, citizens, and get as much public input, possibly facilitated by a solar consultant.”

Board supervisors said with a plan so new to the county, they want to be sure to get it right.

At the Wednesday meeting, the board also approved the 2021 calendar which recognizes Juneteenth as a paid government holiday.

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