Hearing on solar farm set

Published 10:58 am Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Planners in Charlotte County are set to hold a public hearing June 27 at 7 p.m. regarding a conditional use permit to operate a 15 megawatt utility scale solar energy system near Drakes Branch in the area of the intersection of Highway 59 and Ingleside Lane.

Twitty’s Creek Solar LLC is seeking the permit, according to a hearing notice issued by the county.

Months ago, planners held a hearing on the permit application, which has been amended, according to Monica Elder, the county’s purchasing agent and planner.

“The original hearing for the … application was postponed to allow the county to research several additional issues related to the project,” Elder said. “We have been working with the county attorney on these issues for several months and the planning commission now feels they are ready to move forward with the hearing.”

In the meantime, there have been several changes to the application, including only two landowners involved as opposed to the three previously and an updated site plan.

“Originally there were three landowners involved, William Hall, C.E. and Bonnie Hall and Donald and Margaret Barnum. William Hall purchased the Barnum property in March, so now there are only two landowners involved,” Elder said.

“The developer has provided an updated site plan showing a disturbed area of 91.4 acres. The entire leased area will be approximately 134 acres,” she said.

According to Elder, the county’s Zoning Ordinance requires that the facility be removed when it is no longer operational and the cost of decommissioning the facility be guaranteed in case the owner or operator of the solar facility fails to remove it. “Originally the developer had proposed using the salvage value of the equipment as the guarantee. The developer is now proposing to guarantee the decommissioning with a combination of escrow and salvage value,” she said.

Previously the planning commission requested a joint public hearing with the board of supervisors, Elder said. “There will now be two separate hearings; one for the planning commission and a later hearing conducted by the board.”

The hearing will be held at the Charlotte County Administration Office, 250 LeGrande Ave., Suite A, Charlotte Court House.