Anti-Solar desires regulation that block Solar
Citizens Voice for Mason County Inc. openly states they do not want well-regulated solar. Instead, their announced goal is to STOP all of solar. If successful they will prevent Mason County from realizing any of solar’s economic and ecological benefits. If you doubt their goal, just review their signs.
Since Judge Pfeffer’s death, they have managed to replace the draft version of the Solar Ordinance that Judge Pfeffer circulated in Nov 2020, with a draft version based on the Wind Energy System regulation they used to kill wind power in Mason County. From now on let’s call these two versions Dec 2020 Draft and Sept 2021 Draft.
Understanding why the anti-group lobbied for the change to the Sept 2021 Draft starts by reviewing the many clauses that, if adopted, will guarantee that no solar farm will ever be economical in Mason County. These clauses fall into two categories. Some clauses, while subtle, are immediate knock-out clauses, while others add mountains of bureaucratic red tape and litigation. The former category strives to kill solar immediately, while the latter categories attempt to kill solar with 1000 cuts.
The first example of a subtle section is 414.05 which reads:
414.05 CONFLICT WITH OTHER REGULATIONS
Nothing in this Chapter is intended to preempt other applicable state and federal laws or regulations, including compliance with all Federal Aviation Administration rules and regulations. Nor are they intended to interfere with, abrogate, or annul any other ordinance, rule, or regulation, statute or other provisions of law. In the event that any provision of these regulations imposes restrictions different from any other ordinance, rule, regulation, statute, or provision of law, the provisions that are more restrictive or that imposes higher standards shall govern.
While this seems to merely be legal boilerplate, if adopted the section ” In the event that any provision of these regulations imposes restrictions different from any other ordinance, rule, regulation, statute, or provision of law, the provisions that are more restrictive or that imposes higher standards shall govern.” is a death sentence for local solar. To understand why you need to remember that while fighting wind energy Citizens Voice for Mason County lobbied for and then State Representative Mike Denham won passage of this section of the KY Siting Board Stature.
I have added the italic to draw attention to “after January 1, 2015, the proposed structure or facility to be actually used for solar or wind generation shall be required to be at least one thousand (1,000) feet from the property boundary of any adjoining property owner and two thousand (2,000) feet from any residential neighborhood, school, hospital, or nursing home facility“. I asked former Rep. Denham why the legislature passed such a confiscatory law, that takes such a broad swath of land from Kentucky landowners. His response was, well “everyone, in the room at the time, agreed to it.” Former State Rep. Denham then called my attention to the next section.
“If the merchant electric generating facility is proposed to be located in a county or a municipality with planning and zoning, then setback requirements from a property boundary, residential neighborhood, school, hospital, or nursing home facility may be established by the planning and zoning commission. Any setback established by a planning and zoning commission for a facility in an area over which it has jurisdiction shall:
(a) Have primacy over the setback requirement in subsections (2) and (5) of this section; and
(b) Not be subject to modification or waiver by the board through a request for deviation by the applicant, as provided in subsection (4) of this section.“
Former State Rep. Denham told me that this insured that counties like Mason that had zoning would be able to determine setbacks locally.
However, if section 414.05 is adopted then any setback, less than 1000/2000 feet, in the rest of the ordinance, is moot because this clause says the more restrictive state regulation will control.
This is only one example of how, as proposed, the Sept 2021 Draft is a blatant attempt to kill solar. Instead, we all need to adopt an ordinance that will assure well-regulated solar can contribute to Mason County’s economic and environmental future
As a citizen of Mason County, will you allow a minority to protect their views by killing any chance for well-regulated solar to contribute to Mason County’s economic and environmental future?
If you favor regulations that reject solar, then how do you suggest we deviate from our current trends? Denial and delay got us here, regulations drawn in bad faith may protect a few people’s current views but will not position our county for a bright economic and ecological future.