Solar farm proposed in Ahoskie

Published 5:03 pm Friday, July 22, 2022

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AHOSKIE – A Charlotte-based company is seeking a Conditional Use Permit to construct a solar farm within Ahoskie’s corporate limits.

Solar Green Development, LLC has submitted an application for the permit, which, if approved, will allow the company to construct a 55 megawatt solar farm.

The property, approximately 500 acres, consists of several contiguous parcels located north of the Memorial Drive and NC 561 East intersection (across the road from Enviva), stretching east/southeast to the intersections of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive at Davis Street and at Monaco Drive.

Those parcels are all currently zoned R-20. That zoning designation allows for a solar farm to be permitted as a conditional use.

Members of the Ahoskie Town Council were advised last week at their regularly scheduled meeting that a public hearing needs to be scheduled as part of the Conditional Use Permit process.

Town Clerk Jennifer Bracy updated the Council regarding the hearing. She said Solar Green Development, LLC submitted the permit application in December of 2020.

“They’ve been trying to schedule this hearing since October of last year,” Bracy said. “They’ve been very patient.”

She added that it will be a quasi-judicial hearing, to include an attorney representing the applicant.

The hearing also requires a notice to be sent to all surrounding property owners.

Town Council members voted to schedule that public hearing for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 23 at their meeting room inside the Ahoskie Fire Department.

In its application, Solar Green Development officials described the parcels as “generally flat existing tree farm, most of which has either been recently cleared or is currently being cleared of timber.”

They further stated that the site is unique by having three separate Dominion Energy distribution circuits.

Company officials stated that the proposed use “will not alter the character of the surrounding area in a manner which substantially limits, impairs, or precludes the use of surrounding properties for the primary uses listed in the underlying district. The majority of the property will still be used as a tree farm. All environmentally sensitive areas will be left undisturbed.”

According to the company’s plan, the multiple tracts of land will be combined into one single parcel, and then a subdivision plat will be created to have an individual lot for each solar farm installation area.

The current property owner will maintain ownership of several parcels along the current outer perimeter of the overall site, with each of the multiple parcels along the perimeter measuring a minimum of 100′ wide. An additional 35′ access easement will separate the outer perimeter parcels maintained by the current property owner and the interior solar farm parcel boundary.

An evergreen buffer will be maintained inside the solar farm parcel boundary, providing a total buffer of 235′ between all surrounding neighborhoods and the solar farms.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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