Zoning Board votes Against Recommending Solar to Board of Commissioners
Published 9:42 pm Monday, October 30, 2023
The Zoning Board heard comments for and against the Solar Field. Mark Simmons spoke for sustainable Sumter in support of the solar field.
“Sustainable Sumter supports solar electricity and energy and this project. Solar Power is a clean, renewable energy source that lessens our dependence on carbon-based energy. The Solar field has the potential to become a premiere small animal and flying animal wildlife habitat. The panels only cover 20% of the area. The vegetation under and around the panels could be fashioned into wildlife habitat for pollinators, Quail, or other songbirds.”
Martha Augood, a resident on 913 Hooks Mill Road, addressed the Board.
“My property is adjacent to this proposed site, the 229 acres, I live right on the lake. I’m for solar farms, but I opposed solar facilities on green space. It can go in parking lots, on rooftops, in industrial sites that are not being used, but I do not see the benefit of putting it on productive, beautiful farmland.”
The Board voted on the Rezoning request for parcel 1611-182-1 from single family residential to agricultural for the purpose of placing a solar farm on the property. The parcel is 229.27 acres and is currently being used as farm land.
Matt Johnson made a motion.
“I motion to deny the request based on the criteria in section 23.05.”
Mark Pace seconded the motion.
County Attorney Hayden Hooks asked for the reasoning. Pace responded.
“This is zoned residential. Rezoning it would be a disadvantage to the adjacent and nearby properties.”
The rezoning request was denied unanimously. The Chair commented.
“Our recommendation on this to the Board of Commissioners at their meeting will be to deny the request. They have the final say on rezoning.”
The Chair again addressed the Board.
“Our next request will be 2023-Z-06-003, to consider a conditional use permit request from SA solar for parcel 1611-149-1, to place a solar farm on this property. This parcel is made up of 226 acres and is located within the agricultural district.”
Joon Ahn addressed the Board.
“Our project is just for a certain period of time. The land is still agriculture, and after the operation of the solar project, we will definitely convert the solar land to the original condition.”
Kimberly Taylor Page made a motion to approve the conditional use, which failed due to a lack of a second.
A motion was made to deny the request, with all voting to deny the request except Page.
The chair addressed the Board.
“Our next request is 23-Z-06004 to consider a conditional use permit request from SA Solar for parcel 1611-160-1 to place a solar farm on this property. The parcel is made up of 18.96 acres and is within an agriculture district.”
Johnson made a motion to deny the request, which was seconded by Pace, passing.
The Chair presented a request to place a solar farm on parcel 1611-180-1.
“This farm is made up of 312 acres and is located within an agriculture district.”
Goodin asked if the property abutted any residential property and was told it did not.
Johnson made a motion to deny, seconded by Phillips. Pace also voted to deny the request, allowing it to pass despite opposition from Goodin and Page.
The Board then heard a request to consider a conditional use permit request from SA solar for parcel 1611-147-1 for use as a solar farm. The property consists of 143.75 acres and is located in an agricultural district.
Margaret Goodin made a motion to deny the request, which was seconded by Phillip, passing with only Page voting against.
The Board then heard a request to put a solar farm on parcel 1611-180-2. The parcel is made up of 304.19 acres and is located in an agricultural district.
The Board heard comments concerning the proximity to Corinth Church.
Page made a motion to deny the request due to the proximity of the church, which was seconded by Goodin, passing unanimously.
The Board then heard a conditional use permit request from SA Solar for a solar farm on parcel 1611-159-1. The parcel is made up of 388.9 acres and is in an agricultural district.
The proximity of the parcel to the aforementioned church was noted.
Phillips made a motion to deny the request, which was seconded by Pace, passing unanimously.
The issue will be brought before the Board on November 14th for a final decision.