Letter to the Editor: HB636 needs to be dismantled

Published 12:12 am Friday, February 2, 2024

Let’s talk about HB636. Not long ago, the government tried to pass laws in Virginia to take control of private land if that land had wet or dry streambeds on it, claiming eminent domain under the guise of something they called “wetland protection”. At that time, our legislature and other government representatives turned the law down flat, protecting private land ownership and keeping the decision regarding land use in the various counties.

So along comes HB636, offered up by a Northern Virginia legislator that if passed will take Buckingham’s right to decide land use for solar installation applicants, away and give it to the state. To be clear, to anyone watching closely, there is no difference between this law and the government’s previous attempt to take private land control out of the hands of the owner and the county where that land is located. 

By the way, solar farms are utility industry installations and should be titled and referred to that way. Perhaps in doing so, land owners and counties interested in county land planning can sensitize themselves to land being requested for this use.

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Solar utility industry has a place and there is land that can and should be zoned for this purpose. But those are land use decisions and are the right and the job of the county and the county’s residents and landowners. It should not fall to some agency that has little to no interest in that county, and that county’s plans for growth. HB636 is a strike against those rights and responsibilities, and requires dismantling.  

Peter Kapuscinski