Mount Jackson Town Council OKs solar farm

MOUNT JACKSON — The Mount Jackson Town Council voted Tuesday to issue a permit that clears the way for construction of a solar farm at 3100 Turkey Knob Road.

The project, which will see Solar I LLC build a 15.65 megawatt solar electricity generating facility, went before the Mount Jackson Town Planning Commission last week.

The Planning Commission meeting was open to the public, and the meeting had citizens bring up concerns such as construction noise, wildlife endangerment and security. After a presentation by Virginia Solar LLC representative Matthew Meares, the Planning Commission voted 3-0 to endorse the solar farm.

On Tuesday, the Town Council voted unanimously to issue the special permit needed for construction.

Prior to the vote, Councilman Rod Shepherd added that the town is also in talks to have “bee-friendly” plants planted around the solar farm.

“We had a conversation with the solar group after the public hearing about the interest in planting bee friendly plants around this solar plant,” Shepherd said. “Additional plantings like that could help out and there’s a lot of energy around them. They said they’re going to be looking into it at the Mount Jackson facility.”

With the vote now passed through the Town Council, the next step in the building process comes from Solar I.

The council also voted to approve a rezoning request by Todd Holtzman, which was tabled back in March.

Holtzman was requesting to convert his house at 5907 Gospel Street into two two-bedroom apartments. The original vote was tabled as there were concerns about parking for the apartments. Holtzman then went to the Board of Zoning Appeals in April to request a variance. The Board of Zoning Appeals approved his request for off-street parking for the apartments.

On Tuesday, the rezoning request was once again brought up before the Town Council. This time the council approved the request 4-0, with council members Dennis Andrick and Donnie Pifer abstaining.

Contact staff writer Justin McIlwee at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or jmcilwee@nvdaily.com