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Sumter County Board of Commissioners votes to approve construction of solar farm

AMERICUS – After numerous public hearings and opinions expressed by citizens both in favor of and against the solar farm’s construction, the Sumter County Board of Commissioners (BOC) voted unanimously to approve the request from Americus Solar, LLC to construct a 9,600 acre solar farm in southeastern Sumter County. The vote was made Tuesday evening, October 15, at the BOC’s monthly meeting at the Sumter County Courthouse.

Before the vote was taken, the BOC once again heard from various citizens who expressed their support and opposition to the solar farm’s construction during a time for citizens’ comments.

Last Tuesday at the BOC’s monthly work session, many citizens who live in the area where the solar farm is to be built expressed their opinions at a public hearing. Instead of voting whether or not to approve or deny the request to construct the solar farm, the BOC decided to postpone its decision until the commissioners had done further investigating and had sufficient answers to various questions.

The solar farm is to be built on a 9,600-acre area of land that encompasses the communities of Cobb, DeSoto and Leslie in southeastern Sumter County.

The land was divided up into eight parcels and the BOC had to take separate votes on each parcel of land. Sumter County Zoning Administrator Sundie Avery asked the BOC for specific stipulations to be attached to some of the parcels. The BOC granted each request that she had on each parcel.

In the case of Parcel 1520-311-1, which is located at 2565 Spring Creek Church Road in Cobb, the BOC voted to approve the conditional use for the construction of a solar farm. Commissioner George Torbert made a motion for approval and Commissioner Mark Waddell seconded the motion. A vote was taken and the approval passed unanimously.

For Parcel 1519-302-1, which is located at Cobb Cheek Road in DeSoto, the BOC approved the construction of a solar farm on that property. Commissioner Thomas Jordan made a motion for approval and Commissioner Scott Roberson seconded the motion. The BOC took a vote and the approval passed unanimously.

For Parcel 1519-200-1, which is located at Tim Tucker Road in DeSoto, the BOC voted to approve the construction of a solar farm on that property. Commissioner Waddell made a motion for approval and Commissioner Torbert seconded the motion. A vote was taken and the approval passed unanimously.

In the case of Parcel 1520-235-1, which is located at 2564 Lamar Road in Cobb, the BOC voted to approve the construction of a solar farm on this property. Commissioner Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Waddell seconded the motion. The BOC took a vote and the approval passed unanimously.

In the case of Parcel 1519-226-1, which is also located at Cobb Cheek Road in DeSoto, the BOC voted to approve the construction of the solar farm on this property. Commissioner Waddell made a motion for approval and Commissioner Roberson seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

In the case of Parcel 1520-269-1, which is located at Lamar Road in Cobb, the BOC voted to approve the construction of the solar farm on this property. Commissioner Torbert made a motion for approval and Commissioner Waddell seconded the motion. A vote was taken by the BOC and the approval passed unanimously.

In the case of Parcel 1519-313-1, which is located on the property currently owned by Providence Plantation and also located on Lamar Road in DeSoto, the BOC voted to approve the construction of the solar farm on this property. Commissioner Torbert made a motion for approval and Commissioner Roberson seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

In the case of Parcel 1519-279-2, located at 944 Highway 195 North in Leslie, the BOC voted to approve the construction of the solar farm on this property. Commissioner Jordan made a motion for approval and Commissioner Torbert seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously. This parcel is also owned by Providence Plantation.

These eight parcels are all included in the 9,600 acres of land on which this solar farm is to be built. BOC Chairman Clay Jones told the crowd gathered that Invenergy has permission from the county to build the solar farm as long as the company follows the strict guidelines set up by the county in the Standards for Solar Farms ordinance.