October 17, 2013
LAURINBURG — A Chapel Hill Energy company’s appeal of the Laurinburg City Council’s denial of its solar farm permit request is now scheduled to be heard at the end of November.
According to city attorney William Floyd, owners of land near the site where Strata Solar applied to build a solar farm have filed two motions to intervene in the hearing.
Those motions will be heard in court on Nov. 1 and a ruling on whether or not those parties will be permitted to present their interests during the hearing will be made. Initially scheduled for Sept. 30, the hearing is now expected to be held on Nov. 25 in Superior Court.
Strata Solar first approached the city in February with a request to construct a solar farm off of Johns Road, within the two-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction of the city. The city’s planning board voted to recommend denial of the permit on March 12.
In April, the city council conducted a mandatory quasi-judicial hearing and voted to deny the permit 4-1, ruling that it would “not be in harmony” with its surroundings and would negatively affect property values.
Supporting Strata Solar’s position at the April hearing were several testimonials from an independent appraiser and alternative industry professionals. That testimony was met by the complaints of nearly a dozen locals, all of whom said that the farm would be an eyesore, as well as a local real estate agent who voiced concerns regarding the farm’s impact on the value of neighboring property.