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July 14, 2021

Meetze Road solar farm proposal hearing Thursday

Photo/Borrego Solar Systems Inc.
Borrego Solar Systems Inc. proposes an 8,580-panel array — similar to this one it built at Houghton College in New York — just off Meetze Road east of Warrenton.
Public Hearing
• Topic: Comprehensive plan compliance of proposed 19.5-acre solar array at 8515 Meetze Road, east of Warrenton.

• Agency: Fauquier County Planning Commission.

• When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 15.

• Where: Warren Green Building, 10 Hotel St., Warrenton.

• Applicant: Borrego Solar Systems Inc. of Lowell, Mass.

• Landowners: Wenxian and Deyu Wang, who purchased the 48-acre property in March 2017.

• Next: After the hearing, the commission will vote on whether to recommend board of supervisors’ approval, certifying comprehensive land compliance. If the board find it complies, the project still would need special exception permit approval, requiring public hearings and votes by the commission and the supervisors.

• More details: Click here.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Fauquier’s planning commission Thursday night will conduct a public hearing on a proposed 19.5-acre solar energy array near Meetze Road just south of the county’s Central Sports Complex.

Massachusetts-based Borrego Solar Systems Inc. wants to build it on part of Wenxian and Deyu Wang’s 48 acres of agriculturally-zoned land east of Warrenton.

After its hearing, the five-member commission will make a recommendation to the board of supervisors about whether the project complies with Fauquier’s comprehensive plan that calls for preservation of farmland.

If found in compliance with the plan, the solar energy proposal would need special exception permit approval, also requiring public hearings before the commission and the supervisors.

In May, the supervisors followed the commission recommendation to reject a proposal for a 40-acre solar field just off Route 17 south of Bealeton.

Borrego proposes 8,580 panels, with 3 megawatts of peak electricity production capacity, on the Wangs’ land at 8515 Meetze Road.

“The proposed solar project is located on an existing open farm field,” company representatives wrote in their explanation of the plan. “Extensive due diligence has been done to evaluate potential cultural, ecological, and environmental impacts. The various studies have indicated that the project will not create adverse impacts in these areas and the relevant reports are included in the submittal.”

Mounted on posts the solar panels would stand “200 to 700 away from Meetze Road,” the company said. “Vegetated ground cover will be established below the solar panels and there will be a vegetated buffer surrounding the site. The project will seek to blend within the community while creating construction and energy operation jobs, helping to diversify the economy and adding to public energy infrastructure.”

But, some neighbors have written to the commission to oppose the project.

“Although the solar panels would not be visible to the causal motoring public on Meetze Road, each of the surrounding properties will be subject to the daily glint and glare pollution of approximately 20 acres of industrial solar panels instead of the current pastoral agricultural fields of corn, soy bean, wheat, and winter rye,” Meetze Road residents Steven and Lauren Smith and Jake and Sue Andrea wrote. “The required seven foot security fence and related shrubbery would not conceal the panels.”

The proposal fails to comply with the county master plan, they added.

Developed and owned by Dominion Virginia Power on 125 acres east of Remington, Fauquier’s only “solar farm” began operating in 2017.

At its peak production, that 20-megawatt array can produce electricity to power 5,000 homes.

Contact Editor “Lou” Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-1845.

MeetzeSolarCOMR_PCreport_07... by Fauquier Now

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