UPDATE: Solar farm expansion up to Clark County Fiscal Court
Update on August 3, 2021:
WINCHESTER, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Winchester-Clark County Planning Commission at its meeting Tuesday recommended to deny two proposed ordinances that would allow for the expansion of solar farms in Clark County, according to Robert Jeffries, Winchester Planning and Community Development Director.
The planning commission forwarded the issue to the Clark County Fiscal Court, according to Jeffries.
The proposed ordinances would amend local zoning to allow for solar projects to be installed in industrial or agricultural zones.
The possible expansion of solar farms has been debated for months. Critics don’t want farm land taken away for solar development, saying it would hurt farmers and property values and take away land. Solar farm companies argue it would do just the opposite.
There’s already one solar facility in the county in an industrial area.
Update on July 6, 2021:
CLARK COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Tuesday night, the Winchester-Clark County Planning Commission met to discuss proposed ordinances for solar farms in Winchester. Critics don’t want farm land taken away for a solar development.
A new ordinance was drafted by the commission in June to have the solar development on industrial land. That new ordinance was to be voted on at their meeting.
After much deliberation between the commissioners, an amendment was added to give the final decision to the fiscal court. That passed 5-to-1. The commission also denied the two ordinances originally proposed by a 5-to-1 vote.
Original story May 25, 2021:
CLARK COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – In Winchester, more than a hundred people gathered Tuesday speak to the Planning Commission about an ordinance that could bring more solar farms to the area.
One by one, those for and against the ordinance spoke to the commission.
Those against the ordinance included the non-profit group “The Clark Coalition”.
The group is concerned the farms would take away traditional farming jobs and hurt property values.
Solar farm companies say it would do the opposite.
Speakers say this is the first opportunity in almost two years for the public to weigh in and that bothers them.
Clark Coalition Executive Director Will Mayer says the hearing allowed people to show evidence.
“We hope to shine a light on this process as well as present evidence of the cost and benefits of industrial scale solar in agricultural zones,” said Mayer.
The Planning Commission didn’t take any action on the ordinance Tuesday, but may discuss it in its regular meeting next Tuesday.