Solar farm developer changes Norge project

tjefferson@vagazette.com

Plans to build a solar farm in Norge will be changed after residents told the developer they have concerns about a road accessing the property.

The Board of Supervisors sent a request to build the solar farm back to the planning commission at its Tuesday night meeting.

Planning Director Paul Holt said the applicant is talking with VDOT to change the point of entry to the solar farm to Old Church Road.

The change is substantial enough that supervisors sent it back to the commission for review.

No date has been set for the commission to hear the new request from the applicant.

SunPower, a California-based solar energy company, originally requested to build a solar farm on a 225-acre property using Farmville Lane as a point of entry to the site.

The project would power 4,000 households for more than 30 years, according to SunPower.

Residents and planning staff voiced concerns about potential traffic impacts on Farmville Lane during construction during an April planning commission meeting.

“My concern is you are putting a large-scale project with no access in our neighborhood,” said Josephine Garner, who lives on Oslo Court, during the meeting.

The commission recommended the project 5-2 to the Board of Supervisors.

Commissioners Robin Bledsoe and John Wright III voted against the proposal.

“I think that construction period is incredibly long,” Bledsoe said at the April meeting. “I think this project is too much to ask this neighborhood to endure. I support solar energy, but not in this locality.

Wright and Bledsoe said they would’ve supported the project if it was near a different neighborhood.

On Tuesday, supervisors also unanimously approved to return a surplus of funds back to the W-JCC School Board.

The funds totaled $584,088 and will be used for school buses, textbooks, cafeteria tables at Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School and administration and support compensation salary analysis.

Supervisor John McGlennon was also appointed to the Peninsula Airport Commission during the meeting.

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

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