Conversations at the tables of Page County decision makers have taken a turn for the good when it comes to consideration of the many aspects and impacts of utility-scale solar installations.
At recent planning commission meetings, we’ve been pleasantly impressed by the discerning and detailed questions asked by commissioners regarding the components of solar installations such as project setbacks and buffers, the management plan for soil disturbance, potential impacts on adjoining landowners, and the effects on water quality. The Board of Supervisors has also reinforced the moratorium on new solar applications until an ordinance is in place.
This has been refreshing after well over a year of back and forth over the need for a strong ordinance, and this week I sent a note (below) to Chairman Weakley and Chairman Burner praising their deliberate work and asking them to keep it up. I encourage you to also reach out to your supervisor and planning commissioner and let them know you appreciate their diligence while making decisions about such a significant land-use issue here in Page County.
Dear Mr. Weakley and Mr. Burner,
On behalf of the Alliance, I want to thank the Page County Board of Supervisors and Page County Planning Commission for taking the time to carefully consider the many aspects and impacts of utility-scale solar installations in Page County.
During recent Planning Commission meetings, Commissioners and County staff have asked discerning and detailed questions regarding the components of a solar installation—such as location of solar substations, project setbacks and buffers, management plan for soil disturbance, potential impacts on adjoining landowners, effects on water quality, etc. Complete understanding of all the conditions for a solar application should happen prior to the County’s decision on the special use permit and ultimately ensures a better project. The attention to detail exhibited by the County with such a complex issue also demonstrates a positive example of local governance.
Additionally, I appreciate the County’s reinforcement of the moratorium on new solar applications until a solar ordinance is in place. Utility-scale solar is a new industry in Virginia, and the most significant land-use change that Page County has faced. It is critical that the approval of these large-scale installations on our productive agricultural landscapes be considered with regard to their impact on the county’s agriculture economy, natural resources, valuable soils, scenic viewsheds and tourism industry.
Again, thank you, and please continue your careful deliberations.
Page and Warren County Coordinator
Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley