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Gilchrist approves Special Use Permit for another solar farm

By John Ayers
The Gilchrist County Commission approved Special Use Permit 2019-02 to allow Coronal Energy through Leroy Solar Center, LLC to construct a 40MWac solar energy generating facility on 452 acres adjacent to SR 26 in southeast Gilchrist County during their Monday meeting in Trenton. Ryan Gilchrist, Director of Project Development for the Charlottesville, Virginia based company explained to the Commission that their time line was working toward being operational by late 2021.
David M. Lang, Jr., Gilchrist County Interim Planner presented the application to the Commission during a 4:30 p.m. time certain portion of the meeting. Commissioner Langford reported that she will file a conflict of interest and thus will not take part or vote on this application. Mr. Lang reported the property is at 7179 SE SR 26 and includes three parcels of property owned by James L. Langford, Joseph C. Langford; Mark, Lance and Garland Avera. These three parcels border SR 26 on the north, residential development on the south and SE 70th Street on the West. The parcels are currently zoned A-2 and are under cultivation by a local farming operation.
Mr. Lang went through the application identifying the buffer areas along the highway, county road and on the south and east sides where residential development is located. He explained that this application is recommended for approval and the proposed use is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and the Gilchrist County Land Development Code. He went on to add that if the application is approved, the applicant will have to better define the specific buffers and where they are located as well as the type of aluminum panels that will be used for the solar collectors. This and other information must be in the Site and Development Plan that will need to be submitted before the project reaches that stage of construction.
Ryan Gilchrist reported that the solar farm property is under lease for this development for 35 years.
Commission Chairman Gray opened the floor to allow the public to address questions involving this application. There were no questions from the public addressing this application. Commissioner Thomas made a motion to approve SUP 2019-02 and Commissioner Martin gave a second in consideration of this application. The Commission approved this action by a 4-0 vote.

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