So­lar en­ergy sys­tem mora­to­rium ex­tended

Times-Record - - News - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­drews@car­o­line­times­

DEN­TON — A mora­to­rium on cer­tain so­lar en­ergy sys­tems in Caro­line County was re­cently ex­tended an ad­di­tional two months, to give the county com­mis­sion­ers more time to con­sider con­cerns brought up by the pub­lic.

The com­mis­sion­ers unan­i­mously voted on the ac­tion at their meet­ing Tues­day, Oct. 31, the day be­fore the ini­tial six-month mora­to­rium was set to ex­pire.

Com­mis­sion­ers said they needed to fur­ther re­search what can be ad­dressed in the or­di­nance, which will set county-spe­cific de­sign stan­dards for large-scale com­mer­cial so­lar en­ergy sys­tems.

While the Mary­land Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion has the ul­ti­mate say over whether or not such a sys­tem — de­fined as one that gen­er­ates 2 megawatts of elec­tric­ity, enough to power 400 homes — can be built, coun­ties can pass lo­cal or­di­nances set­ting stan­dards for set­backs, acreage and site screen­ings to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion when re­view­ing ap­pli­ca­tions.

“The goal is to es­tab­lish as much lo­cal con­trol as pos­si­ble over the fac­tors the county is al­lowed to in­flu­ence,” said Chief of Staff Sara Vis­in­tainer, who also noted the state com­mis­sion only has to con­sider — but not nec­es­sar­ily de­fer — to lo­cal stan­dards.

The orig­i­nal or­di­nance, which was set for a third read­ing and po­ten­tial en­act­ment at the Oct. 31 meet­ing, estab­lished 3,000 acres — or 2 per­cent of all land cur­rently taxed as agri­cul­tural in the county — as the to­tal max­i­mum num­ber of acres al­lowed to be used for com­mer­cial sys­tems.

When com­mis­sion­ers took fur­ther pub­lic com­ment be­fore vot­ing, res­i­dents asked if the or­di­nance could set a max­i­mum num­ber of acres per sys­tem, to pre­vent a sin­gle mas­sive sys­tem.

“(The or­di­nance) should spread it out over a larger area,” said Mark Jones, of Den­ton.

Jones sug­gested the com­mis­sion­ers look at set­ting a max­i­mum per­cent­age of land per prop­erty that can be used for a sys­tem.

Ellen Carr, of Greens­boro, sug­gested a 500-acre max­i­mum per sys­tem. She said she was also in fa­vor of low­er­ing the 3,000-acre to­tal max­i­mum for the county.

“I think that should be backed down,” Carr said.

Carr also sug­gested in­creas­ing the set­back re­quire­ment from ad­ja­cent prop­er­ties from 200 ft. to 1,000 ft.

“A large sys­tem will gen­er­ate a lot of heat,” Carr said.

John Marra, East­ern Shore sales man­ager for So­lar En­ergy Ser­vices, sug­gested the com­mis­sion­ers look at other coun­ties’ or­di­nances and hold at least one more pub­lic hear­ing.

in­clu­sion pro­grams, which in­clude vo­ca­tional train­ing and em­ploy­ment ser­vices.”

The day started with a light break­fast and a put­tfor-cash con­test as play­ers cir­cled the putting green, send­ing more than 30 balls rolling to­ward the pin for a chance at a $150 cash prize.

At the end of tour­na­ment play, par­tic­i­pants en­joyed a raw bar, drinks and din­ner be­fore vy­ing for auc­tion items that in­cluded a pre­mium Mid-Shore golf pack­age, an East­ern Shore get­away pack­age, in­clud­ing a stay at the Tide­wa­ter Inn, as well as a New York City ho­tel stay. One lucky player took home a do­nated grill filled with a va­ri­ety of bar items as part of the chest-of-cheer, the event’s sig­na­ture raf­fle draw­ing.


Bene­dic­tine Board of Trustees Pres­i­dent and part­ner with Step­toe and John­son Char­lie Mills, left, Bene­dic­tine Foun­da­tion Di­rec­tor Barry Smale and Bene­dic­tine Trea­surer and Shore United Bank CEO Pat Bil­brough par­tic­i­pate in the Bene­dic­tine Char­ity Golf Clas­sic on Oct. 13.

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