01/05/14 — Solar farms on commissioners' Tuesday agenda

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Solar farms on commissioners' Tuesday agenda

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 5, 2014 1:50 AM



The proliferation of solar energy facilities has prompted Wayne County commissioners to schedule a work session for next week on the issue.

The session is on the board's Tuesday agenda.

The meeting will begin with an agenda briefing at 8 a.m. followed by the official meeting at 9 a.m. Both will be held in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

Several solar farms are in various stages of permitting and/or construction throughout the county, including Mount Olive and Goldsboro.

Another is being built in an unzoned area of the county. That allows it to be built by securing just a building and stormwater permit.

Currently, the county's zoning ordinance does not permit the solar farms in zoned areas.

The Wayne County Planning Board has been discussing solar farms for some months, and is recommending that the county zoning ordinance be amended to allow the facilities in zoned areas.

It also is recommending a stand-alone ordinance to regulate solar farms in unzoned areas of the county.

Commissioners are expected to be asked to schedule a public hearing on those recommendations when they meet Tuesday.

Also on the agenda are:

* Discussion of the county's selection by the National Association of Counties to host one of six Community Dialogues to Improve Community Health

* Presentation of a video on services available through the National Association of Counties

* Awarding bids for the county's property and casualty insurance

* Discussion of issues to submit for the N.C. Association of County Commissioners concerning federal legislation

* Consider continuing to pay for radio coverage of board meetings. The county's current contract with WGBR expired Dec. 31. The county paid $4,875 for radio coverage for the period of July 1-Dec. 31, 2013.

There are two items on the consent agenda:

* Health Department patient fees, eligibility and bad debt write-off policy

* Petition to add Olivia Lane in the Hunters Hill subdivision in Mount Olive to the state road maintenance system.

Public comments will start at 10 a.m. People will have four minutes to speak on their topic of choice.