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Hearing set for solar facility

A public hearing regarding a special use permit for the operation of a solar electrical general facility to be located on Good Hope Road in Pamplin will be held during the Jan. 9 Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors meeting. According to the special use permit application on the county’s website, Turning Point Energy is looking to use 137.29 acres for the facility.

Wade Bartlett

“The property is presently zoned A1, Agricultural Conservation District, and this zoning classification permits a major utility after issuance of a special use permit,” said Planning and Community Development Director Robert Fowler in a county document that was sent to those who own adjacent property.

“This company is leasing the land from the two landowners, there’s two different parcels that are side by side, and it’s an individual private lease that’s between the company and the landowners,” said County Administrator Wade Bartlett. “… It should be a low impact, no or very little noise, no pollution, very little traffic once it’s built that will be going in and out to maintain it.”

He said it won’t create “many jobs at all” once it’s built.

“It won’t be a large job producer or a large tax base,” Bartlett said. “They asked, we submitted it, and it will be up to the board of supervisors to make that decision.”

Recommendation for the facility was approved by the Prince Edward County Planning Commission at its Dec. 19 meeting.

Bartlett said Turning Point Energy has facilities in Virginia and North Carolina.

According to Turning Point Energy’s website, the company, which was formed in 2013, is a clean energy advisory, development and investment company headquartered in Denver, Colorado, with team members in Washington, D.C., Maryland, California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada.

A second hearing will also be held that night for an amendment to a zoning ordinance which would allow custom manufacturing facilities in the A1 Agricultural Conservation District by special use permit.

“Prince Edward was contacted recently regarding the process to establish an operation of building sheds/storage buildings for wholesale in the A1, Agricultural Conservation zoning district,” Fowler cited in a planning commission agenda document. “After reviewing the current zoning ordinance, there is a provision to allow ‘sawmills and woodyards’ by special use permit.”

According to Fowler, by definition it allows the use of land for the storage of harvested timber and/or sawing of the timber into lumber products.

“Staff suggests that the planning commission add a classification of ‘custom manufacturing’ as a use allowed by special use permit,” Fowler cited in the document. “… Applicants would have to meet the current development standards outlined in the ordinance and comply with any additional building codes or other state agency requirements.”

The hearings will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the board of supervisors’ room located on the third floor of the Prince Edward County Courthouse at 111 South St. in Farmville.