LAURINBURG — A plan to locate a solar farm in Laurinburg has drawn opposition from some residents, but city officials will take up the request in earnest during a public hearing later this month.
The Laurinburg City Council has set the hearing for July 19 to consider a conditional use permit by Strata Solar, LLC to install a ground-mounted solar farm on 89.17 acres at the US 15-401/501 bypass. The company wants to install a five-megawatt ground-mounted solar farm.
The farm will also have a small building to control equipment and a transformer.
William Purcell, the attorney representing Strata said the company had entered into a long-term lease with a land owner for a tract of farm land that is not visible to any residential area.
There are six solar farms in in the city, according to City Zoning Officer Mac McInnis.
Laurinburg resident Charles Parker spoke against allowing more solar farms in Laurinburg during a meeting last month. He told council members that solar industries are beginning to take up valuable property in the area.
“A real estate agent told me a long time ago if you want to want to sell something like a home or whatever you get out front, you rake it up, mow the lawn and put some flowers out, attract somebody. I don’t think you will attract somebody with one of those things,” Parker said.
He also said that solar company negatives outweighed the advantages.
“I know the city of Laurinburg needs the funds, but not on our main streets where it obstructs the view and takes away from the living standards we would like for our community,” he said. “So I’m asking you when you all sit around and talk about these things consider this. This is home, do you want to put your name on this thing, so that down the road when all this stuff caves in and nobody is coming any more … I gave my approval to watch Scotland County and Laurinburg go down the tube.”
Purcell said the land must be restored to a condition reasonably similar to its condition before the solar plant was put in place. The project would also be decommissioned if the owner decides to cease producing power for sale or use or if the system is damaged and will not be repaired or replaced.
All graveled areas and access roads must be removed unless the owner of the property requests in writing for it to remain.
The Laurinburg Planning Board in a 2 to 2 vote at its June 14 meeting could not decide whether to recommend that council or approve or deny the project.
Reach Maria D. Grandy at 910-506-3171.