Plan­ning Com­mis­sion to hear text amend­ments, dis­cuss amend­ments, con­cept plan for so­lar fields

Record Observer - - News -

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.


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