As advocates for solar energy, my husband and I have installed solar panels at our home in Overall. We believe solar energy is vitally necessary for the future of our planet. However, we also believe that until solar panels cover every rooftop, parking lot, and brownfield in the county, they should not cover potentially productive farmland, nor should they destroy the beauty of our landscape.
So it was with shock and dismay that I watched the YouTube recording of the February 2 Page County Board of Supervisors’ meeting on the planning commission’s proposed solar ordinance. I did not expect Chairman Phenix to argue that the issue of global warming should have priority over the economic welfare of Page County – an economy fed by agriculture and tourism. I did not expect that board members who raised the issue of self-interested lobbying against the ordinance would be called “out of order” and all discussion immediately cut off. (So much for free speech and transparent governing.)
On the other hand, I did expect that all county supervisors would know what a special use permit is and what a variance is. (Such was not the case.) I expected board members to understand the definition of “utility scale solar”. (The definition is in the ordinance.) And I certainly expected board members to have read and understood the ordinance. (Again, not the case.)
After over a tortuous hour of confusion, the board refused to adopt the ordinance. Gentlemen, when you meet again on this, please do your homework! We ask you to bring individual special interests into the public light.
For the long-term common good, we urge you to adopt an ordinance that limits industrial solar “farms” to 200 acres and protects real farmland and tourist-drawing vistas.
Fred and Christine Andreae ~ Overall, Va.
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