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Lincoln Commissioners Reject Solar Farm

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Lincoln County Commissioners on Monday rejected a proposed solar farm on 36 acres near Lake Norman in a vote that followed months of opposition from nearby homeowners who argued it would devalue their property. Commissioners voted 3-1 against Strata Solar’s plans for the site near the upscale SailView neighborhood.

In Monday’s vote, Commissioner Cecelia Martin was the lone supporter of the project. Commissioner Carrol Mitchem abstained, citing a possible conflict of interest. Chair Alex Patton, vice chair Carl Robinson Jr. and commissioner James Klein all voted against the plan.

Strata Solar LLC, of Chapel Hill, had applied for a conditional-use permit to build an array of 26,000 eight-foot tall solar panels on either side of Webbs Road, near Burton Lane in Denver.

The site would have been Strata’s second in Lincoln County and one of about 40 the company has developed in recent years to supply utilities with solar-generated power. A similar project in Kings Mountain, in Cleveland County, opened last December, and another is under construction in western Lincoln County.

But nearby homeowners did not like the idea, and they packed public meetings this fall to express their opposition. At at joint Planning Board/County Commission hearing last Monday, Dec. 2, testimony stretched past midnight.

Strata had said it would meet all the county requirements and that the site would “not produce any emissions or contain any hazardous materials,” according to its application. At the Dec. 2 meeting, officials said they were unable to satisfy the neighbors with their plans for shielding and landscaping the site.

Strata Solar and/or the property owners can appeal the board’s decision to Superior Court, the county’s zoning administrator said Tuesday. They have 30 days to file a notice of appeal with the court once they receive the official notice of the board’s decision.

It wasn’t clear Tuesday when the clock would begin ticking on that deadline, or whether an appeal was planned.

Strata Solar had not responded to a request for comment as of 3:30pm.


Strata Solar LLC website

Lincoln County Commission agenda documents from Dec. 2, 2013 meeting relating to the Strata Solar proposal.

Dec. 9, 2013, DavidsonNews.net, “2 Lincoln County meetings to decide fate of solar farm”

Dec. 6, 2013, News at Norman, “Solar farm hearing ends in wee hours of morning, decision postponed”

Dec. 6, 2013, News at Norman, “Solar farm controversy demands compromise on both sides”

Sept. 8, 2013, DavidsonNews.net/CorneliusNews.net, “Lakefront solar farm could face opposition at hearing”

Sept. 16, 2013, DavidsonNews.net/CorneliusNews.net, Nadine Deason column, “Solar Energy? Please, not in my back yard”