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Commissioners will consider extending solar farm moratorium

SALISBURY — A public hearing regarding the current moratorium on large, ground-mounted solar energy farms will be held during the Rowan County Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday.

At their meeting on Sept. 21, commissioners expressed their intent to extend the moratorium for another six month period since the current one is set to expire on Oct. 6. This would mark the second time that the moratorium has been extended. Commissioners want to extend the moratorium again to give county staff members more time to iron out the details of a new county policy on large solar farms.

“It will be a big one. Overall, it’s an issue of whether our county really wants large solar farms,” Commissioner Judy Klusman said. “We’re also trying to honor people’s property rights while protecting the environment and the neighbors from being harmed.” 

Monday will be the first time that Rowan County Board of Commissioners meet in person since coronavirus prompted virtual meetings. Although the public hearing on the solar moratorium will be held during the meeting, citizens can still comment on the solar moratorium via email if they are not able to attend.

Those who elect not to attend the meeting in person can still participate via Zoom by going to https://bit.ly/rowanboc1005 and using the password 100520. The meeting can also be joined by phone by dialing 602-753-0140, 720-928-9299 or 213-338-8477.

Other business on the agenda includes:

  • The Bogle Architecture Firm will present the design solutions phase of the COVID-19 project. The first phase of the project, called common solutions, is currently being implemented by Salcoa Contracting. The second phase will feature installation of barriers, reception cabinetry, pass-through windows and other materials to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in nine county facilities. Bidding for the project will open on Oct. 19.
  • Commissioners will consider the approval of a contract with OpenBroadBand LLC for a scope or work contract for the business to help expand broadband connection into northwest and southeast portions of Rowan County. The contract between the county and OpenBroadBand will take advantage of county grant funding received from the CARES Act.
  • There will be a public hearing to gather input from citizens regarding Rowan County’s upcoming application for the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Community Development Block Grant — Coronavirus. The grant, with a maximum amount of $900,000 per grantee, is designed to help response and recovery from the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The objective of the grant is to provide programs that will benefit low to moderate income people. Feedback gathered during the public hearing will be taken into account when the county is preparing an application. The board of commissioners will approve the application at its meeting on Oct. 19.
  • Commissioners will consider approval of a contract between the Social Services Department and Carolina Family Connections for foster care.
  • Commissioners will schedule a quasi-judicial hearing for a request for a conditional use permit by Suretha Springs to construct a 5,500-square-foot facility on her property at 1115 Brookwood Drive in China Grove that will operate as an event center for “veteran, community, corporate and private family events.” It is recommended by Assistant Planning Director Shane Stewart that the hearing be scheduled for Oct. 19.
  • Commissioners will consider the approval of a $128,000 bid from Ridge Mechanical to replace the HVAC system lower unit at the county’s agricultural building.
  • Commissioners will consider the approval of several appointments for county board positions, including Allen Cress for interim emergency services chief, Bradford Basinger for the vacant at-large seat on the industrial facilities and pollution control financing authority and Lena Sellers-Crook for reappointment on the nursing home advisory committee.

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