Christian Fiscal Court rescinds resolution related to proposed solar farm

After hearing over an hour of public comments, Christian Fiscal Court on Tuesday morning rescinded a resolution approved in June that was a preliminary agreement for the county to later issue industrial bonds to assist Oriden as it plans to construct a solar farm in the Dogwood community.

Heather Cooke of Goode Road would be completely surrounded by solar panels if the project becomes a reality and says the existence of the proposal has already caused great harm to her property value.

Local realtor Krystal Kirkman also lives in the footprint of the project and says everyone’s home and land are being diminished in value.

Philip Garnett says he’s been contacted by solar farm developers regarding proposed projects elsewhere in the county, including in the Pembroke area, and believes they will continue looking to expand as long as there’s federal incentive money available and nothing to stop them legally.

There were also concerns voiced about noise pollution, cleanup of the site after its no long useful and potential wildlife, environmental and health impacts.

The resolution approved June 14 established a preliminary agreement for the county to later issue up to $220 million in bonds to assist with financing of the project via an ordinance, which would effectively allow Oriden to get a lower interest rate on its financing of the project.

Oriden representative Seth Wilmore told magistrates at the time that they had talked to neighboring landowners, but Magistrate Jerry Gilliam said Tuesday morning that obviously wasn’t true as he moved to rescind that resolution.

While the resolution was approved unanimously in June, Gilliam had unsuccessfully attempted to table the motion for at least two weeks.

In addition to rescinding the bonding resolution, magistrates also asked County Attorney John Soyars to look into the legality of amending the county’s nuisance ordinance to make it more difficult for a solar farm to locate in Christian County—especially when the adjoining landowners oppose it. Squire Philip Peterson says the county has to look into ways to provide relief to those landowners.

Soyars will also look into the possibility of a resolution opposing the location of solar farms in Christian County at a future meeting.

All of the magistrates and Judge-Executive Steve Tribble were in favor of all of the action Tuesday, with everyone believing they were misled by Wilmore when he spoke to them in June.