Hundreds gather in Clark Co. for public hearing on proposed solar ordinance

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 10:30 PM EDT
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CLARK COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Hundreds of neighbors in Clark County spoke before the planning commission Tuesday night over their concerns about a proposed ordinance regarding solar farm development.

They say the ordinance would pave the way for solar farm development on farmlands, destroying the agriculture industry in Clark County.

The three-hour public hearing ended a little after 9 p.m. Dozens spoke before the planning commission in opposition of the ordinance, saying it would negatively impact property value, as well as economic and agriculture ramifications.

The ordinance says the purpose is to facilitate the siting, development, construction, installation, and decommissioning of solar energy systems in Clark County in a predictable manner that promotes and protects the safety, health and welfare of the community.

Many who spoke say they are worried this will allow outside companies to come into the county and develop solar farms on thousands of acres of farmland.

There were some who spoke in favor of solar farm developments, but the majority of those speakers were not from Clark County.

A solar energy company from Charlotte was there who says they have land owners who are interested in opening their land for solar development, but they say they don’t have a project in the works at this time. That’s all based on the passage of the ordinance.

There’s already a solar facility in Clark County, but it is in an industrial area. Leaders of the Clark Coalition, which stands against the ordinance, said they’re not against renewable energy. But they don’t believe the process has been transparent, and they wanted their concerns heard.

“We’re not against renewable energy, but we’re for siting renewable energy developments responsibly,” Will Mayer with Clark Coalition said. “That includes rooftops, industrial zones, reclaimed mine sites, in different parts of Kentucky, but if we’re going to consider putting these on prime farmland, it really needs to have an open and transparent process.”

The commission says there is no specific land or area that is being designated for development. They say the ordinance is just a framework for how future solar applicants would be considered.

No action was taken on the ordinance Tuesday night. The commission will have another work session on the ordinance on June 1.

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