Staunton Solar Power Proposed Project concerns residents; council tables proposal

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 12:00 AM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - (Updated 5/25/23 10:31 p.m.) A potential solar facility in Staunton has been put on hold for now.

Staunton City Council heard from residents both for and against the project and after hours of public hearing and new concerns brought to life council decided to table the solar energy facility.

The Oikos Solar System said the proposal is consistent with the Virginia Clean Energy Act of 2020. The electricity generated by the facilities will go into the Dominion Energy grid.

The Oikos Solar System added they intend to enroll the shared solar facility in the Dominion Energy Shared Solar program.

Some community members are concerned about this proposed project.

“It is 95 acres, about 57 of those acres will be under panel so visually that is an issue. A lot of people are worried about property values. We are worried that it is being cited right next to Lewis Creek, which is the source of water for Downtown Staunton.” said Staunton resident, Annie Dixon.

Dixon said a group of concerned neighbors created a website with more information on the project and to get the word out.

“We wanted to get the word out and get information out and it is we are not from a particular organization and we don’t have an agenda. We have just come to know this so we posted a lot of links to articles and that sort of thing so we and everyone else can get the information and educate ourselves,” said Dixon.

Dixon said the area is historic.

“It is in what’s called the agriculture-forestal district. So those were developed purposely to slow development so farmers could afford to stay in the city,” said Dixon.

Dixon said she does not want them to pull this area out of the zoning. Dixon added this will be up for renewal in 7 years, which she feels will give Staunton a long time to plan and discuss.