Push back to drafted solar farm ordinances in Clark County

CLARK COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Some people in Clark County are speaking out about concerns that more solar farms will soon move to the county.

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That’s because the planning commission is working on making it easier for those companies to get land.

Clark Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to the future of Clark County, said the public should have been able to comment sooner on drafted ordinances about solar farms.

“There has not been an open and transparent process to examine this issue.”

Executive director Will Mayer said those ordinances would set guidelines for allowing solar companies to move into Clark County, one of which, ‘Swift Current,’ wants to set up shop on Van Meter Road.

“There are a number of concerns regarding these proposed developments – environmental, economic and the benefit to the community,” Mayer said.

That’s why Mayer said he’s glad there will be a public hearing Tuesday night.

He said the solar farms would cost farmers jobs, bring down property values and negatively impact the environment when it’s time to take down the solar panels.

“We should really stop to examine the impacts instead of potentially rushing in to a potentially very foolhardy development,” Mayer said.

Swift Current disagrees. It says the benefits outweigh the push back.

“Anywhere from a million dollars in megawatt infrastructure improvements that will be taxable, so it obviously improves the tax base significantly,” Development Director Dave Fowler said.

Swift Current drafted the first ordinance to allow for solar farms in the county. It said the Planning Commission then drafted its own. Fowler says the main difference is that there is more space between the solar farms and property lines, and he says that’s a good thing. However, Fowler said there no evidence that solar farms hurt property values.

He also said the farm could provide more jobs to more people.

“A thousand acres of land tenet-farmed by one or two individuals and the same sized solar farm would have four or five,” Fowler said.

He said there would also be construction jobs if the farm is built.

Director of Planning and Community Development Rob Jeffries said the commission plans to listen to the public at Tuesday’s hearing and stresses it has not and cannot make a recommendation to the fiscal court and city commission until then.

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