Hearing set on setback ordinancePublished 5:12pm Friday, July 5, 2013
The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners chose Aug. 5 as the date for a public hearing regarding setbacks and other regulations concerning future energy-related projects in the county.
The Aug. 5 date is when the board has its next scheduled meeting.
A proposed ordinance requires a 75-foot setback from the right-of-way line on a road, a 50-foot setback from a property boundary line and 100-foot setback from a residence or business. It also includes a requirement for a vegetative buffer around an energy project, such as a solar farm, that reaches 6 feet in height within five years of the buffer being planted.
A three-man committee of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners met last month to discuss the issue and develop the ordinance’s components. The committee — comprised of commissioners Gary Brinn, Ed Booth and Hood Richardson — instructed Bryant Buck, planning director for the Mid-East Commission, to draft the proposed ordinance.
If adopted, the proposed ordinance would not apply to existing solar farms or other energy projects.
The impetus for forming the committee surfaced earlier this year when Paul Woolard, who lives next to the solar-farm project at White Post, complained to commissioners about the project’s effects on his property.
After hearing Woolard’s complaints and discussing the matter, the board, with a unanimous vote, directed county staff to request the White Post solar-farm developers — SunEnergy 1 and Duke Energy Renewables — to find a new entrance to the project to prevent further damage to Woolard’s property.
At the meeting where Woolard aired his concerns, Brinn said he would like to have a county ordinance that would “guarantee that no property owner would every have to step out of their house and look at that.” Brinn called for a setback of at least 100 feet from the right of way.
“I’d like to have more, but I will take the 100 feet,” he said then.