In your article “County faces approving solar project or waiting for predicted industry growth,” we note that you asked Supervisor Carolyn Bragg about property rights and interviewed Supervisor Marshall Pattie for a different viewpoint. However, we were dismayed that you didn’t reach out to any of us landowners for our perspective.
We and the other project landowners do not want to sell our land. Our first choice is to keep the land and use the stable solar income to keep going with agriculture on other portions of our properties. We chose this project for our land because it is sustainable, healthy and a good, quiet land use that will be an excellent rural neighbor. It is also by design temporary and will, in accordance with our leases and the county’s own Solar Ordinance, be completely removed.
Mrs. Bragg’s vision for Stuarts Draft is quite the opposite – instead she promotes a massive, permanent industrial park and expansive subdivisions accompanied by more lights, noise, traffic, and the very real prospect of higher taxes to accommodate additional schools, roads, hospitals and emergency services. All of this while ignoring our rights as landowners.
We are upset by Ms. Bragg’s message that we who have owned this land for generations should just get out of the way and sell our land to third parties for industrial and residential development. Her statements show a complete lack of respect for our property rights. It is outrageous that we might be prevented from doing this temporary solar project, which fully complies with current zoning, the Comprehensive Plan, and the county’s Solar Ordinance, because 10 years ago the county made the misstep of over-investing in a wastewater treatment plant and covets our land for development.
A handful of landowners should not be held hostage when the county will continue to have many hundreds of acres available for development just in Stuarts Draft, and thousands of acres elsewhere in the county, for both housing and industry. Just look at Fishersville and the county’s own, competing Mill Place Commerce Park in Verona as other options for development.
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