To the Editor:
In February 2021, Michael Helm, Page County’s part-time attorney, presented a proposed solar ordinance. It offered little protection to the county, not surprising because the information contained within the document showed that it was authored by Gentry Locke Rake & Moore LLP, the law firm that represents Urban Grid, the industrial solar company determined to build large-scale facilities in the county.
The obvious questions were asked:
• How did a document created by an industrial solar company — and designed to protect their interests — get submitted by the attorney working for Page County?
• And how much did taxpayers pay for this?
No one provided an explanation.
Now, the draft solar ordinance prepared by the Planning Commission (and discussed at two meetings in April 2022) is stalled in legal review by Mr. Helm. The delay could be just a matter of timing; however, it could be the first step in an attempt to weaken protections for Page County and develop an ordinance that protects industrial solar development and threatens the county’s future.
We can’t let that happen. The taxpayers of Page County need to be confident that the individuals that we pay to protect our interests are doing their jobs.
We need transparency, accountability, and an excellent solar ordinance — we need the ordinance developed and approved by the Planning Commission to move forward.
Beth Snider ~ Luray, Va.
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