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Supervisors approve solar farm request, second Kensington school location

tjefferson@vagazette.com

SunPower’s proposal to build a 35-megawatt solar farm in Norge was approved unanimously by supervisors on Tuesday night.

The project was pushed back to the planning commission in December after a series of deferrals and public meetings to address residents’ concerns about traffic impacts on Farmville Lane, which was the original point of entry to the site.

The commission recommended approval of the new request — which moves the entry site to Old Church Road — 5-1 at its Dec. 6 meeting. SunPower also proposes to use an off-site lot at Crosswalk Church to accommodate parking for workers during construction.

“I think the applicant did a good job of working with the community,” said supervisor Jim Icenhour.

Two residents spoke in favor of the project and one resident opposed it during the supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

Dennis Cotner, who lives at 127 Wilson Circle, said he didn’t want to see a solar farm located less than a half of a mile from his house.

“It’s not a good fit,” Cotner said.

Cotner said he would rather see the parcel turned into farmland.

Resident Sean Lawler, who lives at 172 Old Church Road, said he preferred a solar farm to a housing subdivision.

“In my opinion a solar farm would be a perfect neighbor,” Lawler said.

Supervisor chairman Ruth Larson, who along with supervisors Sue Sadler and John McGlennon, went to community meetings pertaining to the proposal, said it was impossible to satisfy everyone.

“We’re not going to make everybody happy with this decision,” Larson said. “While there will be panels there will still be an appreciation for the quietness that is there now.”

SunPower, a California based company, plans on planting evergreens on the property to help buffer the view, according to its application. The company also noted the panels do not create much noise.

The project will offset carbon dioxide emissions and power 4,000 households for more than 30 years, according to SunPower. It will take nine months and 60 to 80 people will work on the site, according to SunPower.

After the project is complete, Sunpower said two or three people will monitor the site daily.

Kensington School

The supervisors also unanimously approved a request from the Kensington School to open a second location on Richmond Road in partnership with Hickory Neck Episcopal Church.

The school will sit at 8300 Richmond Road and serve up to 76 children with seven employees.

The hours of operation are proposed to be 7 a.m- 6 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.

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