Letter: Solar zoning ordinance

Feb. 02, 2013 @ 10:20 AM

To the Editor:

I attended this year’s commissioners’ annual retreat. I listened to a 45-minute sales presentation justifying solar farms. Commissioners were given time to ask questions and express concerns about solar farms.

One commissioner asked a generic question, what are the negatives? The presenters indicated there are no negatives. Another commissioner hinted at a potential decline of property values to property adjacent to a solar farm. A third commissioner asked about removal of the solar panels at the end of their productive life.

The presenters answered partially the question by ignoring the need to return the land to its original state. 

I have been pondering the solar zoning ordinance. The pending solar zoning ordinance is lacking in details when compared to the shooting ordinance. I think the solar zoning ordinance the commissioners approve should include at the minimum the following:

• Specific dimensions for a small, medium, and large solar farm including setbacks.

• Define environmentally and aesthetically appealing visual buffers surrounding any solar farm.

• Stipulate that the land be returned to the original state at the end of a solar farm’s life.

These zoning requirements are not onerous to the property owner or developer, and do not foster any adverse requirements upon the property owner. Any land used for solar farming is unavailable for agricultural purposes for the duration of the solar farm.

Which is more essential to human existence: food to eat or lights to read by? Postponing the vote for a solar zoning ordinance gives time to craft a detailed ordinance and publicly vet such an ordinance. This would only postpone the start of such a farm, not prevent such a farm.

Michael Bobbitt