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Citizen opposes solar farm

The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) held a joint public hearing Thursday, May 28, with the county planning commission to consider a zoning amendment change that could have a huge impact on a future solar project.

The county’s current zoning ordinance limits the density of utility-scale solar to 3% in any given five-mile radius.

Recently Solunesco has expressed an interest in constructing a utility-scale solar facility that exceeds the current density in the Randolph area.

The BOS did not make a decision on the zoning amendment during its Thursday night meeting.

Stuart Topp, who lives in Randolph, was the only citizen to speak during the public hearing noting he moved to the county after living in Hawaii for almost 30 years.

“We came here because it was peaceful, with natural beauty and an abundant amount of natural wildlife,” Topp said. “I’m here today to sound the alarm that all of these things are about to be decimated forever.”

Topp said Solunesco is trying to get a density of more than double what the zoning ordinance allows of a 7% density.

“This is one of the largest solar fields proposed anywhere,” Topp said.” It will not only forever change the landscape of the Randolph area, but will open the door for larger solar fields, that may well turn Charlotte County into one giant solar field, which will destroy the beauty of our environment.”

During his address to the BOS, Topp pointed out how he felt that carcinogens that make up the solar panels will eventually leach into the ground, virtually leaving the ground dead and that property values around these fields will go down.

“Who wants to live right next door to a solar field?” Topp said. “There won’t be any more growing of crops on this acreage after this solar field starts to destroy the land. Yearly cycles of nature will be forever changed, as the trees and vegetation that were removed, to accommodate the panels, will be gone for generations.”

Topp said he had talked with many citizens, and to his knowledge, not one of them was in favor of the large solar farms.

“No one other than the people who own the lands will get anything from these fields.”

The BOS is expected to vote on the zoning change at its June 8 meeting.