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Planning board split on solar farm

The Lincoln County Planning Board was split this week on whether a 36-acre solar farm should be built off Webbs Road at Lake Norman.

The board voted 4-4 on whether to recommend that North Carolina’s largest solar company, Strata Solar, be given a permit for the project at Webbs Road and Burton Lane.

The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners will consider whether to grant the permit at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the James W. Warren Citizens Center auditorium, 115 W. Main St., Lincolnton.

The Planning Board unanimously concluded that the project wouldn’t endanger public safety or healthy. But while the board also found the project would be in harmony with the area, members split 4-4 on whether the project would substantially injure the value of neighboring properties. The board concluded that solar farms are so new to zoning that it lacked information on whether such projects hurt values.

Two Lake Norman area real estate agents said at a Dec. 2 public hearing on the permit that it would be impossible to sell homes in the neighboring Sailview community and elsewhere nearby. About 800 homes are near the proposed solar farm.

The project would have to meet conditions including that evergreen shrubs and other plantings be 4 to 6 feet tall depending on location and that all electrical wires be underground except where they interconnect. Fencing would have to be 7 feet tall -- black vinyl-coated chain-link fencing with no barbed wire.

Marusak: 704-358-5067; Twitter: @jmarusak
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