Planning Commission to hear text amendments, discuss amendments, concept plan for solar fields
CENTREVILLE — The Queen Anne’s County Planning Commission will meet Thursday, Oct. 12, at 110 Vincit Street in Centreville beginning at 9 a.m. to hear proposed text amendments to County Ordinance 17-07 and 17-02 and to discuss amendments affecting the use and designation of Solar Arrays prior to hearing a request for favorable recommendation to approve a concept plan for Jones Farm Lane Solar, LLC.
County Ordinance 17-07 to be amended to add four additional uses and corresponding standards to the Airport Protection and Kent Island Gateway (APKIG) zoning designation. And County Ordinance 17-02 to add a new section to Chapter 14 — Crictical Area Overlay Map adoption for the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area.
Other proposed text amendments to county ordinances will if agreed upon, add a new zoning district for Utility Scale Solar Arrays — and add definitions for such utility scale and small-scale solar arrays. A map amendment to the overlay map for county zoning map, regarding solar arrays is proposed accordingly.
The proposed text amendments, will according to the agenda, be made in advance of latter agenda items the Planning Commission will hear on the same day. Jones Farm Lane, Solar LLC, Urban Grid Comapny, is requesting the commission give favorable recommendation on their concept plan for a 326.15 acre solar array.
The Stevensville-based company has plans to construct a massive solar panel project on three tracts of land, totaling 337 acres, on Jones Farm Lane in Millington, Queen Anne’s County.
In a February interview, Frank Depew, president of Urban Grid Holdings, which owns the project said, “The project will consist of 205,996 solar panels. These panels produce DC current which is converted to AC current by inverters. The system provides AC current to the electrical grid.”.
The company filed an application with the Maryland Public Service Commission at the beginning of 2017, asking for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct the 56.70 megawatt solar facility on the site, near Millington toward the Delaware line.
Depew also released this email statement, saying “The project would represent a significant investment in the county, with a capital cost of approximately $105 million, providing significant tax revenue to the local community.”
“We estimate that the project would create approximately 150 to 175 design, management, and construction jobs for personnel working remotely or on the site at the height of construction,” he said.
In the application with the Maryland Public Service Commission, it says, the project will interconnect to the electric distribution grid serving Maryland via the construction of an onsite substation. The project will either sell electricity into the regional electricity market on a competitive basis or sell electricity directly to one or more large electric consumers, Depew said.
“Delmarva Power and Choptank Electric Cooperative will not purchase the electricity directly and Delmarva Power and Choptank Electric Cooperative customers will not pay for any costs associated with the project, including for electricity generated by the project,” said Depew.
The proposed site for Concept Plan approval is given as 48 Jones Farm Lane, Millington, and is located in an agriculture zoning district. Presently utility-scale solar generation facilities are permitted in such areas in Queen Anne’s County as a conditional use, according to the application.
“Besides the small post foundations, underlying land will remain pervious and be planted with native, low-lying grass species for maximum environmental stewardship,” Depew said.
According to him, the project would lease the underlying land from a local landowner, who will receive lease revenue throughout the project’s life.
Urban Grid’s affiliates own solar projects that provide Kent County, Maryland and the town of Denton with solar energy which offsets their use of energy from the electrical grid. In Delaware, Urban Grid also operates facilities for Delaware Technical Community College at the Dover, Georgetown and Wilmington campuses.
The agenda has public comment scheduled at the beginning and end of the meeting.