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New ordinance regulates solar farms in Middlesex

by Tom Chillemi

On February 5, the Middlesex Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance amendment regarding solar energy facilities that clears the way for a proposed solar facility at Middlesex High School in Saluda.

The Middlesex planning staff analysis stated Sun Tribe Solar of Charlottesville is about to undertake a project located in the county. “After review of the allowable uses in the various zoning districts, it was discovered that the proposed facilities were in conflict with the current Middlesex Zoning Ordinance allowable uses,” stated the staff analysis.

The primary changes associated with Sun Tribe Solar’s request are as follows: “increase the maximum five-acre limit for Solar Energy Facilities, Large Scale to a maximum of 10 acres; increase the Solar Energy Facility, Utility Scale from 5 acres to 50 acres; create a new definition for a Solar Energy Facility, Small Utility Scale that will have a maximum allowable area of 50 acres; add Solar Energy Facility, Small Utility Scale as a Special Exception use in Resource Husbandry (RH), Low Density Rural (LDR), Agricultural (A), Village Community (VC) and General Business (GB), and revise Article 17A to define site plan processes for the various scale facilities.”

For facilities proposed in the Village Community (VC) and the General Business (GB) districts, special setback requirements were added not only for screening and buffering purposes, but also for the purposes of promoting standard development that is currently supported as either a permitted or special exception use, the staff report states. 

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newsstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 02.14.2019

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