Solar energy system moratorium extended
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.