On Wednesday evening, the Town of Walkersville voted to forward a letter opposing a solar farm on Biggs Ford Road. That letter from the Walkersville Planning Commission resulted from Tuesday evenings Planning Commission meeting.
The Frederick County Board of Zoning Appeals requested input from Walkersville, because the property lies within Walkersville’s area of influence and a priority preservation area as defined by Frederick County. The area of influence recognizes that the property is within Walkersville’s growth area.
The Planning Commission in Walkersville noted that a solar farm is not allowed within its agriculture zoning district. As such, it would be a non-conforming use if and when the property were annexed into Walkersville. Planning Commission member Michael Kuster noted the Comp Plan’s designation of a green belt to maintain a buffer of agricultural land around the town, and the preservation of prime agricultural land.
A resident of Creek Side neighbor sent a letter opposing the solar farm. His concerns included the visual impact of a solar farm and the security fence.
Planning Commission member Dick Brady raised concerns about the power lines that would transmit collected electricity to the power grid. The Planning Commission agreed that the power transmission would be a concern.
The Town Commissioners discussed the issue. Commissioner Russ Winch praised the project as a way to keep houses from being built on the property. Commissioner Zimmerman noted that she would prefer to keep agricultural land in agricultural use. Zoning Administrator Susan Hauver reminded the Commissioners that any housing development would require annexation and re-zoning. So, they would have more control over the possibility of residential development.
The Frederick County Board of Zoning Appeals will hear testimony this evening regarding the solar farm on former Burgess Ralph Whitmore’s farm. The hearing may be viewed at http://frederick.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=59.