Rockingham County supervisors held public hearings on two major projects

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – The Rockingham County Board of Supervisors met Wednesday night and held public hearings for two major projects. The council heard public comment on a proposed large apartment complex in the Stone Port area and a proposed large solar installation near Grottoes.

The first public hearing was for The Wentworth, a proposed 271-unit apartment complex that a Charlottesville developer hopes to build on property between Stone Spring and Apple Valley Roads.

“It’s not uncommon for situations to be approved on first request. It’s also not uncommon for them to be filed, so it will depend on what kind of information we glean from the public hearing that is different or perhaps in addition to what is presented as part of the case report, part of the application,” said Sallie Wolfe-Garrison, chairwoman of the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors.

The county planning commission unanimously recommended approval of the project at its September meeting.

The Board passed the concurrence motion 5-0. Supervisor William Kyger praised Cathcart officials after the hearing.

“I was pleased with their willingness to cooperate with the county and answer our questions and work with us, and I think they are great partners in this community,” he said.

Supervisors also held a public hearing on the Sun Ridge Solar Project, a proposal by NextEra Energy Resources that hopes to build a 150-acre, 563-acre solar farm off Highway 340 outside Grottoes near Lynwood Road.

“Are there other things that this area could be used for that would make more sense or is this an area compatible with large scale solar power for reasons that may be unique to this land use issue and that’s what it all comes down to is a land use issue,” Wolfe-Garrison said before the hearing.

The developer is applying for a special use permit for the project and requires a county exemption for a solar installation over 50 acres. If supervisors approve the project, it would only be the second large-scale solar installation to be approved in the county.

Sun Ridge Solar officials said the farm would provide all the benefits of solar energy without loss of farmland in the county or impairing mountain views.

However, the board and community members disputed that 30 acres would have to be cleared to build the solar farm.

“The section that I got to look at is little sad bushy Christmas trees hanging in there, but it pains me, uh, to think we’d be cutting down 30 acres of hardwood for what’s supposed to be a environmental project,” Kim Sandum, a Rockingham County resident said.

Others have asked who exactly benefits from solar energy. While some neighbors of the land have given the farm a thumbs up for fear that a housing estate will take over the land if the solar installation is not approved.

During the meeting, supervisors also held further discussions about a possible kennel ordinance in the county.

“What the discussion of tonight’s meeting is going to focus on is an opportunity for us to air whatever we’ve heard collectively or individually and then look at them and say that’s what we need to focus on. “said Wolfe-Garrison.

The ordinance would provide regulations for dog breeding operations in the county such as the size of the kennel, the number of dogs allowed to be bred, and the conditions under which the dogs must be kept. Wolfe-Garrison said supervisors received a wide range of feedback on the proposal. .

“We have been told that we should not be involved and that we should be fully involved. So our job tonight is to decide where in this area of ​​involvement is it appropriate for county governance to be involved. What does it look like?” she said.

Supervisors took no action on the order Wednesday.

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