Solar farms begin acquiring permits

May. 09, 2013 @ 06:16 PM

Plans for construction on two solar farm projects in Vance County are in the works, and await review from the county’s Planning and Development Department.

According to Jordan McMillen, director of the planning department, two projects, one on Bearpond Road in Henderson and one on N.C. 39 South about halfway between Henderson and the Vance County line, have received approval for conditional use permits.

BearPond Solar Center, LLC submitted a conditional use permit to the Vance County Planning and Development Department on Feb. 15, receiving approval from Vance County commissioners on March 21.

With approval of the permit, BearPond Solar Center will install, own and operate the solar farm on nearly 100 acres for a minimum of 15 years. Under the terms of the lease, the solar farm will be removed at the end of the lease term.

HelioSage is the developer and sole member of BearPond Solar Center, LLC. They are under contract via a lease option with the landowner, Ms. Carolyn Adcock of Wake Forest.

A signature-ready lease will be executed prior to construction.

Land for the proposed second project, on N.C. 39 South, is owned by Strata Land Holdings, while Dement Farm LLC will be the owner and operator of the proposed 45-acre solar farm.

Commissioners approved a conditional use permit for that project April 11.

In granting conditional use permits, the Vance County Zoning Board of Adjustment must make the following findings:

• The use requested is among those listed as an eligible conditional use in the district in which the property is located.

• The use or development is located, designed and proposed to be operated so as to maintain or promote public health or safety.

• The use or development complies with all regulations of the zoning ordinance and all applicable specific conditions and specifications.

• The use or development is located, designed and proposed to be operated so as to maintain or enhance the value of adjoining or abutting property, or that the use is a public necessity.

• The use or development will be in harmony with the area in which it is located, and will be in general conformity with the Vance County Land Use Plan.

Construction on both projects will not begin until construction plans are reviewed by the Vance County Planning and Development Department, and building and trade permits have been issued.

“There’s no real estimate on how long it takes to get it to us,” McMillen said. “They’re doing their due diligence, and getting plans together.”

Once construction plans are received, McMillen believes the process of moving forward with construction will be expedited.

“A review should be done within two weeks to a month once we get it,” McMillen said. “Then we’ll be able to issue the permit, and they’ll be able to go to work.”

Contact the writer at abentley@hendersondispatch.com.