Solar farms get second spotlight at hearing

Published 12:31 pm Saturday, September 24, 2016

Companies and advocates for solar farming get a second chance to make their case when they come before the Southampton County Board of Supervisors on Monday at 7 p.m.
This past August, both Southampton Solar LLC and Geenex made presentations to the Planning Commission. The first company spent 1 ½ hours explaining how solar farms could benefit the county. The public responded with another 90 minutes, most of which was opposed.
Westley Drake of Newsoms, for example, said then, “There are many, many ways to produce energy, but there is only way to produce food and that is to grow it from the ground. I ask the board to deny these proposals.”
But the proposals were not without their supporters. Hugh Vincent said that he didn’t see how a small percentage of solar farms was going to hurt.
The length of that meeting was such that the panel agreed to postpone discussion and voting until September. Ultimately, the commissioners said they would not recommend either of the separate requests to the supervisors.
As before, Southampton Solar and Geenex will each go through the three steps — Comprehensive Plan Amendment, Rezoning and Conditional Use Permit. The public will also get another opportunity to respond and voice their concerns or support.
The other hearings for the night relate to a sand mining operation by The Curtis Group Inc.