Months of effort by both the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors has produced a solar ordinance that protects our landscapes, wildlife and rural communities. We applaud the Planning Commission for taking the time to carefully consider the impacts of installation of both utility-scale and small-to-medium on-site projects on our landscape, for listening to and incorporating citizen input, and for working with The Berkeley Group to craft sound guidelines for this emerging industry.
To express your support of the ordinance, please submit your comments by 5:00 pm on Tuesday, December 15 to be considered at the virtual* public hearing at 7pm that night. In addition to using the online form, you can also share your comments with your supervisor and to the Board Chairman so they are aware of your position.
- Maximum size of 200 acres acreage coverage (that is, the equipment, structures, substation, etc. that are located ‘inside the fence’)
- Must be located at least 1 mile from a town boundary
- Shall minimize and avoid locating on Prime Farmland and Farmland of Statewide Importance – no site shall have more than 50% of soils identified as Prime Farmland and Farmland of Statewide Importance
- Minimum 200 foot setbacks from adjoining parcels with existing dwellings, the Shenandoah River and other waterways
- Minimum 100 foot wide screening from the ground-level view of adjacent properties
- Native, non-invasive and pollinator-friendly ground cover
- Shall not be located within ¼ mile of federal highways except where natural topography shields the entire facility from view
- Shall not be located within 200 feet of historic and cultural resources as defined in the comprehensive plan
- The facility shall provide at least one wildlife corridor per 50 acres
- Minimum lighting fixtures which will minimize glare and not be an nuisance to the public
- The applicant shall provide proof of adequate liability insurance
- A strong decommissioning plan
Because this is a fast-moving industry, the ordinance also states ‘any other condition [may be] added by the Planning Commission and/or Page County Board of Supervisors as part of a special use permit approval’.
You can read the entire ordinance here – it begins on page 38 of the agenda packet.
* We have encouraged the County to provide reliable remote access to government meetings and, due to the new pandemic restrictions, the public will NOT be allowed to attend this public hearing in person. However, we have been assured (again) that the equipment will be in place and working to live stream the meeting with both audio and visual access and the recording will be made available for future viewing on the website/YouTube channel.