Monday, July 15, 2024

Board to host public listening to on photo voltaic proposal


Five public hearings are scheduled throughout Tuesday’s assembly of the Washington County Board of Supervisors together with one which discusses the proposed photo voltaic undertaking.

The board met Tuesday on the Washington County authorities heart in Abingdon, Virginia.

Topping the listing of public hearings was the photo voltaic query, which sparked dialogue on each side of the difficulty.

The board will maintain a public listening to on increasing the county’s photo voltaic ordinance in response to a Texas-based firm, Catalyst Energy, requesting a particular exception allow from the Washington County Planning Commission.

There is not any scheduled vote on this concern.

As written the ordinance will embody a requirement for a siting settlement, decommissioning plan to get rid of the gear as soon as it’s not used, monetary safety and an choice to assess taxes. within the era of vitality.

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Catalyst needs to put in photo voltaic panels on 1,800 acres or extra of farmland and industrial land in Washington County, principally within the Wyndale space, and promote the electrical energy to the ability grid.

Landowners have praised the corporate’s long-term lease agreements, saying they’ll get more cash from land they cannot at the moment use.

060124-bhc-nws-solarfarm-p5 Solar Farm 5 open house

Director of Renewable Energy Development at Catalyst Energy Partners Craig Schwer (heart) helps reply questions from neighborhood members throughout an open home occasion final week. The Washington County Board of Supervisors will maintain a public listening to on Tuesday on the potential for increasing the county’s photo voltaic vitality ordinance.

Emily Ball, Bristol Herald Courier

But neighbors – and a few county officers – are skeptical about what’s going to occur to the views of the farms, the lack of agricultural land, the upkeep and eventual removing of the photo voltaic panels, the size of the undertaking and if this four-year-old firm plans to promote the proposed photo voltaic operation to overseas buyers.

The Washington County Planning Commission voted in favor of the expanded ordinance.

Planning Commission Chairwoman Christina Rehfuss known as the ordinance “protecting” of the county if a photo voltaic vitality firm needs to find in Washington County.

Supervisors are additionally looking for public enter on the $201.5 million finances for fiscal yr 2024-25, which County Administrator Jason Berry has repeatedly described as a “tight budget†.

The board is scheduled to vote on adopting the working finances.

The board may also welcome public enter on a plan to extend the county’s lodging tax or “transient occupancy tax” – from 5% to 7%. This enhance is payable by visitors staying in resorts, motels and different lodging institutions.

County Treasurer Fred Parker proposed the tax enhance at a board assembly earlier this yr, saying a 2% enhance might usher in $100,000 yearly.

The ordinance specifies that 5% of the taxes generated by tourism spending and journey gross sales.

Additionally, there will likely be a public listening to on a particular exception request by Stacy Greer to rebuild a restaurant in Tailors Valley alongside Chestnut Mountain Road and the Virginia Creeper Trail. The restaurant has been closed for a number of years, based on Zoning Officer Stephen Richardson.

And lastly, the board will maintain a public listening to on the request of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to broaden the auxiliary drive from 15 to 30 members.

[email protected] — Twitter: @DMcGeeBHC

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