County’s solar ordinance effective upon publication
The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors has made its solar ordinance official.
The supervisors held a second public hearing on the proposed ordinance changes. Nick Summers, policy assistant for the Center For Rural Affairs shared thoughts on the ordinance changes, and felt they were for the better.
“These projects have demonstrated significant potential to generate new tax revenue, additional income for landowners, and temporary and long-term jobs in rural areas,” Summers said. “It’s important that counties create a balanced solar ordinance in advance of proposed development. The time and effort that Montgomery County has put into crafting an ordinance that balances the interests of community members and developers is prescient, and the recent proposed changes show a commitment to developing an ordinance that works well for all affected parties.”
Summers also issued praise for the inclusion of a provision for periodic updates to the decommissioning plan.
“This allows for a more effective and responsive plan that can adapt to any changes that could occur over the lifespan of the project. The requirement of a road use agreement helps to protect important infrastructure that local residents rely on.”
Summers felt setbacks were a key part of any solar siting ordinance, and 100-200 foot setbacks from occupied residences for utility-scale solar installations are ideal for balancing the interests of landowners and developers.
“The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors have been diligent in responding to the concerns of their constituents and other stakeholders. At the end of this deliberative process, I’m confident that the result will be a balanced and effective ordinance that allows the county and its residents to take advantage of the benefits of solar development,” stated Summers.
Maggie McQuown, who was present at the meeting, offered her own praise for the efforts on the ordinance.
“As a member of the board of adjustment, I commend the zoning board and the supervisors for revisiting the ordinance. I don’t feel the ordinance was written as strongly as it could have been initially, but now I feel that we’ve gotten things put in place and the comments from the Center for Rural Affairs are very valid,” commented McQuown.
No other public comments were made. The supervisors approved the second reading of the proposed solar ordinance, and waived the third reading, making the ordinance effective upon publication.
The supervisors also approved the request for the use of American Rescue Plan funding for the new lighting at the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center, at a cost of $25,851. The lighting project was proposed to pay for itself in cost savings in roughly three and a half years.