Citizens concerned about impacts of utility-scale solar

Letter

Dear Editor:

We are concerned many citizens in Page County haven’t heard about the issues surrounding efforts by a utility-scale solar company to influence the Page County Board of Supervisors (BOS).

The BOS opposed a solar power regulatory ordinance put forward by the Page County Planning Commission (PC) by a 9-to-1 vote in favor of the ordinance on Oct. 13. The Board of Supervisors voted Feb. 2, 4-to-2, against accepting the ordinance that would place limitations on utility-scale solar installations.

These limitations address permitted area/acreage of construction, operation, decommissioning, and are recommended by the Berkley Group consulting firm, who was paid $50,000 at taxpayer expense. The PC thoroughly studied the ordinance for merit and logic when looking at the basic economic activities of the county, agriculture and tourism. Two Supervisors, [Keith] Guzy and [Allen] Louderback, have been in support of this good ordinance.

Concerns put forward by the citizens of Page County include, destruction of rocky terrain, erosion occurring during site preparation, effects of chemical wash off from solar panels on ground water for residents and livestock, interruption of wildlife habitats and movements, and detrimental effects on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.

The magnitude of effects unlimited utility-scale solar installations would have on tourism, the heart of the Page County economy, is incalculable. Shenandoah National Park, Luray Caverns, and the South Fork of the Shenandoah River are treasures not to be squandered away for no long term gain.

Visitors come to Page County for the beauty and tranquility, time and time again. The U.S. 340 corridor is the gateway to and from metropolitan areas north, as well as via the national park. Destruction of the viewshed, would include 22 west-facing overlooks on Skyline Drive. The ordinance limitations would prevent an overrun of panels covering large parcels of land.

A vast majority of citizens do not want to see the wholesale degradation of Page County. Our BOS needs to listen to and also truly hear our opinions.

Please contact your district supervisor and attend BOS meetings via YouTube, Page County, Virginia – YouTube. When COVID restrictions allow, we expect community-inclusive meetings will begin with proper protocols in place.

Rob and Amy Cumbia ~ Luray, Va.

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1 Comment

  1. It seems everyone in Page County is concerned about unrestricted size of solar farms put into our landscape. That does not mean that we are backward people uncaring about the environment. It just means that size restrictions are reasonable! If it works out, it can be always revisited in another year- perhaps with a proposal that also benefits the county- but jumping in with two feet does not make sense.BOS, please do not dismiss your constituents!

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