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Pittsylvania County News

Posted on: September 30, 2020

Committees hear presentations about solar, convenience centers Tuesday

Pittsylvania County making requirements more uniform for solar development

As development of utility-scale solar facilities continues to take place across Pittsylvania County, Community Development Director Emily Ragsdale is looking to unify the regulations that apply to future projects. Currently 12 solar projects are at some phase in the permitting process and three are operational.

"There are inconsistencies from project to project, so we're trying to reduce that," said Community Development Director Emily Ragsdale. "We want to make sure that we can consistently apply conditions across projects, and we also want to make sure that the conditions we're using are minimizing any adverse effects."

Under the current zoning regulations, the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals both have to approve any application for a special use permit for a solar project, but the ordinance has some loopholes. Community Development Director Emily Ragsdale presented several proposed changes to the Pittsylvania County Legislative Committee on Tuesday, including:

  • The companies completing the project are required to put forth decommissioning bonds to ensure that projects can be fully removed and the land restored. Ragsdale proposed that the salvage value of the equipment not be included in the bond price, which will ensure the bond amount would actually cover any decommissioning costs. 
  • Solar panels must be at least 150 feet from any property line and 200 from any residential property line.
  • Any solar facility must be within two miles of a transmission line and can't locate within five miles of an existing solar project.

 These proposed changes were approved by the legislative committee and will go before the full Board of Supervisors for final approval.

Pittsylvania County taking steps to improve existing convenience centers, add more sites

Pittsylvania County is working on plans to improve the convenience centers that are scattered throughout the county and continues to make progress on three new sites.

Michael Moore, Convenience Center Coordinator, offered a presentation to the Solid Waste Committee Tuesday regarding three areas of the convenience centers that he will be strategically improving: communication, site supervision, and site management.

One of the priorities for Moore is training and retraining the attendants at each of the five manned sites -- Brosville, Berry Hill, Mt. Hermon, Mt. Cross, and Blairs -- to engage more with citizens and keeping the entire sites clean. Another focus will be consolidating the number and improving the quality of the signs at each site.

Three new convenience centers are also being developed at Climax, Level Run, and Meadow Ridge Court, which is south of Gretna on U.S. 29. Each of these sites is in the midst of the design and permitting process. 

"Our goal is to continually make these convenience centers more convenient, pleasant, and accessible for our citizens," said Deputy County Administrator Richard Hicks.

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