• 57°

County approves solar farm off of Mooresville Road

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Rowan County commissioners on Wednesday gave approval for a solar farm that will sit between two neighborhoods on Mooresville Road.

Mooresville-based Lumina Sun Inc. plans a 1.8-megawatt solar farm on an 11-acre portion of a 46-acre parcel on John Rainey Road, an unpaved road between the Homestead Hills and West Ridge neighborhoods.

Representatives of Lumina Sun said the solar form would involve about $2 million in new investment, and the solar panels could last as long as 50 years.

At Wednesday’s meeting, two people other than the developers spoke about the request. One lives adjacent to the site and said she is OK with the proposed solar farm but asked about potential noise associated with the development and tree buffers.

Another person questioned what the solar farm could mean for the areas’s future but did not express opposition to the development.

For their part, the commissioners also spoke about tree buffers and noise that may be noticeable for solar farm neighbors. Developers said the facility would not generate any more noise than typical electrical equipment.

The commissioners did not include any conditions in their approval, but they did ask that trees removed as part of construction be replaced afterward if possible.

Other conditions included in the proposal include that the solar energy panels be oriented 180 degrees with a 30-degree tilt, that developers obtain a driveway permit, and that warning signage be maintained at 120-foot intervals around the property.

Assistant Planning Director Shane Stewart presented a glare study that showed the solar farm could affect planes headed to the Rowan County Airport for a period of 10 minutes or less during summer months.

Stewart said he spoke with former Airport Director Thad Howell about the potential for glare, and Howell said it was not a concern.

After holding a quasijudicial hearing on the solar farm, the commissioners unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the facility.

In other business at Wednesday’s meeting:

• The commissioners set a public hearing at 10 a.m. July 17 to gather input about a $27.5 million loan that will be used to build the consolidated western Rowan County elementary school.

Commissioners had canceled a meeting scheduled on July 17 but needed to schedule the public hearing because of a deadline for approval from the North Carolina Local Government Commission, county staff said.

County Manager Aaron Church said the county will seek loan proposals from banks in the coming weeks. Church said the county will seek a bank loan rather than a bond partially because of low interest rates. A general obligation bond, for example, would also involve a longer process and require voter approval.

The Rowan-Salisbury school system hopes to open the western Rowan elementary school by December 2018, according to county staff. In order to meet that deadline, construction would need to start in August or September of this year.

Asked why the public hearing was scheduled for 10 a.m. instead of the usual 6 p.m. meeting time, county commissioners and staff provided the following reasons: some commissioners have already made plans for the usual meeting time, the matter has been extensively discussed and a legal agreement requires the $27.5 million be provided to the school system for the western Rowan elementary school.

• Commissioners approved a $381,222.91 contract with Modern Construction Co. to renovate the Rowan County Airport.

The terminal building expansion involves adding 800 square feet of space and renovating 600 square feet of existing space. Contractors will build a larger conference room, turn the existing conference room into a pilot’s lounge and create an office out of the existing pilot’s lounge.

Commissioners authorized Church to obtain costs for remodeling the former J.C. Penney building, also called the West End Plaza events center.

Specific renovations would include additional restrooms, paint, flooring, electrical upgrades and a portable audio/visual system.

• Commissioners voted to increase the yearly tattoo permit fee from $200 to $250.

• Commissioners approved a rezoning that will change a tract near the intersection of Webb and Old Concord roads from rural agricultural to commercial business and industrial.

The land in question measures 2 acres and is connected to land owned by ABC Towing of the Carolinas.

• Commissioners voted to sell a tract on Martha Street in Kannapolis to Lizbeth Ballesteros for $8,000.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

Comments

Business

Frustrated and confused by COVID-19 restrictions, local bar owners near breaking point

Elections

Republican volunteers say ‘passion’ drove victories across the ballot

News

Peppermint partnership: N.C. State’s Food Science Club manufactures ice cream toppings at Research Campus

Business

Biz Roundup: Salisbury-Rowan utilities honored for exceeding drinking water standards

Coronavirus

County reports 57 new COVID-19 positives Saturday

Local

Sharing the Season 2020 list

Lifestyle

One last blessing. For 20 precious minutes, 89-year-old Barrier met granddaughter

Business

Businesses plan to continue using practices driven by COVID-19 after pandemic is over

Business

Always on the hunt: Local entrepreneur grows real estate firm, earns accolade for success

Lifestyle

Sons of American Revolution honor local first responders

Local

Sharing the season: Community Care Clinic turns to telemedicine during pandemic

Local

Rowan Helping Ministries preparing to reopen clothing assistance as temperatures drop

Kannapolis

‘Fireman’s chief’: Colleagues remember Barnhardt as passionate firefighter, family man

Business

Local retailers looking to holiday shopping for boost in business

Coronavirus

Virus numbers could be erratic after Thanksgiving

Elections

Appeals court rejects Trump challenge of Pennsylvania race

Coronavirus

52 COVID-19 cases added Friday after week with highest, fourth-highest increases

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with stealing boat, $10,000 in auto parts

Education

RSS superintendent hiring process continues

Business

We want to hear from readers: How are you planning to do your holiday shopping?

Local

‘Whoever we feed is a blessing:’ Providence Baptist Church distributes free meals on Thanksgiving

Local

Spencer to receive $750,000 CDBG grant for home repair

Elections

For Rowan, 2020 general election turnout statistics mostly mirror 2016

Crime

Blotter: Nov. 26