Chase City Town Council supports solar farm

At Monday night’s Chase City Town Council meeting representatives of the Grasshopper solar project asked for support.
Walter Putnam and Kara Price of Geenex went into detail about the progress of the Grasshopper solar farm project. The Grasshopper solar farm is attempting to take over 900 acres off of Highway 49 on the north end of Chase City.
When the planning first started Putnam said they sent letters to 57 landowners surrounding the area and only received one formal complaint. Putnam said the Mecklenburg County Planning Commission asked for more research to be done before moving forward.
According to Putnam and Price they have made changes to better accommodate the feedback they are receiving. The main concern is the visibility of the solar farm from the surrounding properties and the roadways.
Putnam said the nearest home to the proposed solar farm area is 400 feet away and Geenex will provide natural buffers to block the farm from being visible. Putnam said with the acreage the farm will occupy there will be additional space surrounding the farm to work as a buffer space where the company will plant vegetation that will act as natural visual barriers.
Chase City Mayor Eddie Bratton seemed concerned with the unused space Geenex would be purchasing for a buffer that may limit a business from building in that area. Putnam said the plan can be changed to say the extra space could be used as a natural buffer or industrial area with the structure acting as the visual buffer.
Bratton also wanted to know if Geenex has seen an increase in business in other areas they have built solar farms. Putnam said within a few years of building in other areas they have seen an increase in interest in that area. Putnam also said building the solar farm will “highlight Chase City as a progressive area, and the solar projects tend to put a spotlight in the best possible way on the area.”
Council member Charles Willis said, “Like it or not solar energy is the future,” and he suggested the council move forward with supporting the project. After all discussion of the solar project was finished, the council approved sending a letter to the board of supervisors and the planning commission in support of the Grasshopper solar project.
In regards to the 2017-18 proposed budget the council, after no comments were made during the public hearing at the beginning of the meeting, approved the proposed budget.