Petition against Charlotte County Board of Supervisors dismissed

Published 1:42 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2023

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A petition against the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) and a host of other county boards surrounding the Randolph Solar project has been dismissed.

However, the case still remains on the court docket, and a retired judge from Virginia Beach, Judge Thomas Padrick has been designated to preside over this case.

Last year, Charlotte County citizens George Toombs, Donna Toombs, Steve Lenhart, Marian Lenhart, David Cogar, Heather Cogar, Levi Toombs, Kevin Newcomb, and Stuart Topp filed a case following the approval of the Randolph Solar project.

The attorney for the plaintiffs, John Jansen, will need to amend the petition dismissal or the case will be dismissed entirely.

Argument from the county

According to court documents provided by the county, the plaintiffs do not have standing as complainants as they must own and occupy property near the solar project site.

Second, the complainant must allege facts demonstrating particularized harm to some personal or property right, equitable, or imposition of a burden to the plaintiffs different from that suffered by the public generally.

“Plaintiffs bombard the Court with 28 distinct arguments for their position that the Board acted arbitrarily and capriciously in approving the Conditional Use Permit for Randolph Virginia.” court documents stated. “ This “kitchen sink” approach merely highlights, however, that the Plaintiffs’ true goal is not to litigate specific issues but rather to convince the Court to substitute Plaintiffs’ wishes for the judgment of the Board of Supervisors in carrying out the best interests of the County. As is plain from the lengthy legislative record of the approval process in this case, reasonable minds could and did differ about the advisability of approving the Conditional Use Permit. Many citizens were in favor of the project. Others were opposed.”

The project, set to be one of the largest solar facilities in the nation was in a 4-to-2 vote on July 5, approved by the Board of Supervisors.

The BOS approved both a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and Sitting agreement for the 800-megawatt facility proposed by Reston Virginia-based SolUnesco.

That decision came after more than two years of public hearings, lawsuits and negotiations.

More Charlotte County Board of Supervisors history

According to a court document on June 1, 2022, the BOS held a properly noticed special meeting to discuss the Randolph Solar Project. During that meeting, the Board heard a presentation from SolUnesco and its partners.

It was during that meeting that SolUnesco’s representative focused on the potential economic benefits to the Charlotte County community of approving the CUP Application and the Siting Agreement for the Randolph Solar Project.

Among those benefits was an upfront payment of $20 million to the County, with additional anticipated revenues of $5 million per year, totaling $600 million over the fifty-year lifespan of the Project.

In addition, the Board heard a report from the Berkley Group, the third-party reviewer, and a significant number of comments from citizens.

According to county attorneys, the Board further considered the recommended conditions on approval of the Planning Commission.