Prevent Poison Pills in proposed Solar Regulations

Past Mason County leaders cultivated a balanced economy even as individual enterprises changed. With the loss of tobacco, dairy, and large employers like Emerson, DP&L Stuart station, and others, our generation must again embrace change. 

Denial is not a valid strategy

Denying the need for change has resulted in Mason County losing 1400 people since 1960. Over 66% of Mason County school students now qualify for USDA’s free lunch program. Allowing these trends to continue will not serve our descendants well.

Since May 2019, when solar first appeared on the Planning Commission’s agenda, anti-solar folks have been doing all possible to delay public discussions on how Mason County citizens can all benefit from well-regulated solar farms.

They first used fear, uncertainty, and doubt by making unsupported claims about solar.

Anti-solar pressure forced the Maysville Mason County Joint Planning Commission to reject both the KY model Solar Ordinance and the initial draft solar ordinance circulated by Judge Pfeffer in Nov 2020. Instead, the draft in front of the JPC was based on the wind energy regulation (that the same group used to stop wind energy in Mason County.)

Even before setbacks are specified, ant-solar folks are trying to insert poison pills that will make solar unable to contribute to Mason County’s economic and ecological future.

Several examples of attempted poison pills are in section 414.13 

  • Site plan topic n. “A topographical map of the project area and a one-mile perimeter with contours of not more than five (5) foot intervals.” What purpose (other than increasing cost) does this serve? Most maps covering hundreds of acres have either 20 or 50 foot contours. A requirement of maping all ground within i mile of SES perimeter fence means the smallest possible map will cover over 2009 acres. Requiring such a large area to be mapped in with the 5-foot contour lines is a classic example of a poison pill designed only to drive up cost and stop solar development. 
  • 5. B & C Requires the exact name and manufacturer of the solar panels at the time of filing. There is significant time lapse between the filing and purchase of the panels. Market conditions change, and solar developers should be allowed to react to those changes. This is like requiring people applying for a driver’s license to state the model of the car they will drive years in the future.
  • 6 D Tries to add more expense with a bracketed note. ” (building to be permitted separately); “. An SES is an integrated project. requiring a separate permitting process for each building only serves the anti-solar goal to block solar by driving up permitting costs.
  • 6 i – Specifies “Distances from SES arrays to each setback requirement .” It should read “Distances from SES peremter arrays to each setback requirement “. Defining the distances for internal arrays is only a “make work” requirement that serves only the anti-solar goal to block solar by driving up permitting costs.
  • 6 – k specifies “The location of all above-ground utility lines within a distance of one mile of any proposed SES structure; “. Solar panels are less than 20 feet tall. Maping all utility lines within 1 mile of an SES is simply another “make work” requirement that serves only the anti-solar goal to block solar by driving up permitting costs.
  • 7 Sound study – Regulation in 414.05 (B) proposes a limit on Db(A) at the SES perimeter. This requirement is yet another “make work” requirement that serves only the anti-solar goal to block solar by driving up permitting costs.
  • Requiorement 8 and 9 are more of the same.

This review covers only a small section of the draft regulation. However, it shows that the anti-solar folks attempt not to regulate solar to benefit Mason County’s ecological and financial future. Rather they want to regulate solar out of Mason County.

For decades we have benefited from the economic foundation our parents and their parents created. Recent fundamental economic changes demand more than continual denial and delay. Mason County can block solar development with poison pills in the Solar regulation. If we do that, the solar opportunity will be gone in short order when all the local electrical transmission lines are full carrying power made outside the county.

A bright future requires each of us to decide:

  1. Do we believe many of our past economic foundations are weakening?
  2. What enterprise other than Solar is available with equal ecological and economic benefits?
  3. If not solar, how do we replace tobacco and dairy so we can assure a bright ecopnoioc and envoromental fuuture? 
Solar-Energy-Systems-Ordinance-Draft-v1.0

If you want solar’s benefits lobby for the city and county to hold a public meeting in October and adopt a text amendment that will allow well-regulated solar to help Mason County move toward a bright future.

Maysville Mason County Planning Commission Members

NamePositionE-mail
Tim Teegarden (City)Chairpersonchevys4u@rocketmail.com
Tom Coe (County)Commission Membertcoe@maysvilleky.net
John Hutchings (City)Commission Memberdgjohn6740@gmail.com
Annette Walters (County)Commission Memberawalters01@windstream.net
Peggy Frame (County)Commission MemberPeggytony1900@gmail.com
Lesley Myers (City)Commission Memberhumbodie@gmail.com
Xandy Stewart (City)Commission Memberxandy@maysvilleky.net
David Reed (County)Commission Memberdar_51@hotmail.com
George LargerPlanning & Zoning Administratorgeorgelarger@maysvilleky.net
Michael ClarkePlanning Commission Attorneymichael@clarkeandclarkelaw.com

Mason County Fiscal Court Members

NamePositionE-mailPhone
Owen J. McNeillJudge Executivemasoncojudge@masoncountykentucky.us(606)564-6706
Joe McKayCommissionerjoe.mckay@mason.kyschools.us(606)407-3591
Phil DayCommissioner(606)407-3363
Chris O’HearnCommissionerchrisohearn41056@gmail.com(606)584-6676

Maysville City Commission Members

NamePositionE-mailPhone
Debra L. CotterillMayorcotterillmayor@gmail.com606-564-9419
Victor McKayMayor Pro Temvictorc.mckay@gmail.com606-584-0449
Andrew WoodCommissionerawood@maysvilleky.net606-564-9959
Ann BrammerCommissionerannbrammer@hotmail.com606-584-1760
David CartmellCommissionerdcartmell@maysvilleky.net606-584-5371
Matt WallingfordCity Managermattwallingford@maysvilleky.net606-564-2521