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Spencer acts to limit solar farms

By Rebecca Rider

Rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SPENCER — The Spencer Board of Aldermen on Tuesday approved amendments to a town ordinance to limit solar farms.

The amendments follow a Jan. 30 moratorium. At a called meeting then, the board approved a 60-day hold on applications for and construction of solar energy system sites and solar farms.

Mayor Jim Gobbel said that Spencer is in favor of clean energy, but the town has two planned solar farms already. One is a 32-acre site along North Salisbury Avenue; the other is a 100-acre off Hackett Street.

The board wanted to balance job growth, as well, Gobbel said.

The town doesn’t have a lot of available land, he said, and the solar farms will create few, if any, jobs for residents.

“We hate using up all our available land for projects and not have any jobs for people in town,” Gobbel said in an interview after the meeting.

The town Planning Board on Monday recommended a zoning amendment that would prevent solar farms from being within one mile of each other, within the town limits or within 400 feet of town entrances — those being U.S. 29 North, Long Ferry Road, Third Street and Seventh Street. The board also recommended an amendment that site owners present a bond or irrevocable letter of credit that would help the town if the farms are abandoned.

Troy Powell, the town’s land management director, said the amendments should prevent clustering.

No town residents spoke for or against the amendments during a public hearing.

The amendments were approved unanimously.

In other business:

  • The board approved the closure of an unopened right of way at 1287 Salisbury Ave.
  • The board approved the demolition of a nuisance building at 610 S. Yadkin Ave.
  • Leaf collection will begin today and run through April 15.
  • There will be a mulch giveaway Saturday beginning at 7:30 a.m.
  • Stormwater improvement plans on Fourth Street, including adding a stormwater pipe and repaving, will soon be submitted to the state. The project completion date is tentatively November.
  • Amended a town ordinance on commercial or oversized vehicles to state that the town code enforcement officer may order the removal of any vehicle in violation of the policy on private property and the chief of police may remove them on a street, highway or public right of way.
  • The board discussed mandates from the Department of Environmental Quality in regards to the Stanback Forest dam. The department classified the dam as a high hazard potential and gave the town an April 3 deadline to complete the following: secure an engineering firm and come up with an emergency action plan; remove beavers from the dam area; drain the pond by several feet; and clear debris off the structure. Town employees said they are complying with these requirements. By May 1, the town has asked for a report by an engineer as well as a plan in place to correct the problem. Town officials clarified that the dam is not in danger of breaking, and no residences would be in jeopardy in case of overflow.
  • The board waived fees for a community fair for local schools to be held April 8 from10 a.m. to noon in Library Park.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.

 

 

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