Two solar farm public hearings next week

Published 1:45 pm Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Two proposed solar farms — one in Isle of Wight County and one in Surry County — will be put to public hearings next week.

The Surry hearing, which will be held during the county Planning Commission meeting on Jan. 24, concerns Surry Solar Center LLC’s proposed 20-megawatt facility that would be located on a roughly 225-acre parcel at the corner of Route 10 and Bacons Castle Trail. The parcel is owned by William and Hugh Epps, according to county tax records.

According to a public notice published in the Jan. 12 and 19 editions of The Smithfield Times, the solar farm would occupy roughly 196 acres of the rural, agricultural-zoned land. Surry Solar is seeking a comprehensive plan amendment, rezoning, a conditional use permit, and a determination from the Planning Commission that the proposal is “substantially in accord” with the revised comprehensive plan.

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The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the county’s general district courtroom, located in the Surry government complex at 45 School St.

A day later, a proposed “major utility service” solar farm proposed to be located off Orbit Road will go before Isle of Wight’s Planning Commission for a public hearing. The public notice published in the Jan. 12 and 19 editions of The Smithfield Times does not specify the proposed farm’s output in megawatts nor its acreage, but according to county tax records, the parcel on which it would be located measures just over 117 acres and is owned by Robert Benjamin Stagg.

According to the public notice, the applicant — Nuby Run Solar LLC — has applied for a conditional use permit, which includes a request to withdraw 20 acres from the Courthouse Agricultural/Forestal District.

Agricultural and forestal districts are voluntary creations of county governments that allow landowners special land use rates when their properties are assessed for real estate taxes in exchange for a pledge to keep their land in agriculture, forestry or open space use for a set number of years, usually 10.

The hearing will take place during the Planning Commission’s regular scheduled meeting, which will begin at 6 p.m. in the boardroom of the county’s government complex at Monument Circle.