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Commissioners to consider solar farm permit near Cleveland

Rowan County Commissioners on Tuesday will consider a proposal to build a nearly 64-acre solar farm near Cleveland.

Statesville Solar LLC is requesting a conditional use permit to build a solar energy system on 63.84 acres of land in the 12700 block of Statesville Boulevard, which is about 1 mile west of Cleveland. The land is currently zoned rural agricultural.

Commissioners will consider the conditional use permit on Tuesday after their regularly scheduled meeting was moved due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

In a letter to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, Statesville Solar writes: “Solar energy is a public necessity. Demand for electricity has increased in recent years, and our society is dependent upon conventional sources of power such as coal gas and nuclear energy. Conventional sources of electricity are expensive, finite resources that require significant environmental disruption and public safety risk to maintain or extract.”

Site plans for the solar energy system show two groups of solar panels on the northern side of Statesville Boulevard. The panels would be located between Statesville Boulevard and Old U.S. Highway 70, according to site plans. The larger of the two solar panel groups would be adjacent to Statesville Boulevard. The panels would be less than 10 feet in height.

Rowan County’s Planning Department staff report states the “request appears reasonable.”

The staff report states: adequate transportation access to the site exits, the use will not detract from the surrounding area’s character, hazardous safety conditions will not result, the solar farm will not generate significant noise, odor, glare or dust and the rezoning will not crease significant visual impacts for adjoining properties or passersby.

Other items on the Rowan County Commissioners’ Tuesday agenda includes:

• A closed session to address a veterans home in Spencer and the status of the county’s West End Plaza special use permit appeal.

After the commissioners’ previous meeting, county attorney Jay Dees said the county would meet with Town of Spencer officials to consider whether a property at 418 South Carolina Ave., in Spencer, meets its zoning requirements.

Dees said options for the county include continued operations or taking the property back.

The county transferred the property to the Col. Abram Penn Veterans Foundation, with an understanding that it would be used to house homeless veterans, Dees said.

• Discussing whether to list the former DSS facilities located on Mahaley Avenue and West Innes Street with a commercial real estate broker through a request for proposals process

• Waiving all fees for a $500,000 addition to the Rowan County Animal Shelter

The addition is being built as a gift to the county. Waiving the fees is on Tuesday’s consent agenda.

• A consolidated contract for all probations officers using space leased by the county

The consolidated contract puts the expiration date for all space leased for probations officers at 36 months. The entire contract would cost the county $108,717 per year.

• Discussion on whether to reschedule or merge the board of commissioners’ Feb. 2 meeting with a retreat schedule for the same week

• A resolution that would allow County Manager Aaron Church to sign any necessary grant documents relative to a Gildan Yarns plant being built on Heilig Road

The resolution is on Tuesday’s consent agenda

• A grant application from the Rowan County Department of Social Services’ One Church One Child program

The grant application would be for the 2015 Margaret C. Woodson Foundation Grant. The grant application is on the Commissioners’ consent agenda.

• A request from Janet Martin, who owns property on 6365 S. Main St., between China Grove and Salisbury, to allow her building to house multiple tenants rather than one

A staff report to commissioners found that the application meets all standards of approval.

• A resolution allowing the board of commissioners to appoint a the 2015 Board of Equalization and Review after soliciting applications

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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