Solar should be conditional in A1 and A2 Zones
Large-scale solar should be a conditional use in A-1 zones.
Agricultural Transition (A-1) is defined as follows: “The A-1 districts have been established to provide for areas that are within or adjacent to the Urban Area and are either in transition to urban type uses, or have a high potential for urban uses in the near future, as infrastructure becomes available. “
With a key phrase being “as infrastructure becomes available.” Solar is a perfect use because it does not need the infrastructure this definition demonstrates A-1 land does not yet have
The Official Maysville/Mason County Land Use Map shows an abundance of A-1 zoned land, which can easily support Maysville’s growth far into the future. These two facts justify a conditional use of Solar in A-1 zones.
Large-scale solar should be a conditional use in A-2 zones.
Agricultural (A-2) is defined as follows – “The A-2 districts have been established to preserve and protect the decreasing supply of prime agricultural land and to minimize urban-type development into rural areas until utilities, and other municipal services can be provided efficiently.”· With the loss of Tobacco and Dairy income, the economics of the remaining rural enterprises are forcing more and more landowners to sell house lots either along road frontage or by subdividing their land. This shows current rural land uses to deliver the exact opposite of “minimize urban-type development into rural areas”. Large-Scale Solar provides an economic basis to stop this urban-type development into rural areas.
US Census figures tell us Mason County’s population declined from 18,454 in 1960 (when both tobacco and dairy were in full flower) to 17,050 in 2021. We can best appreciate the economic pressures caused by current land uses by driving on Mason County’s rural roads and noting all the housing built on farmland since 1960, all while our population was dropping by over 1,400.
Solar provides an economic reason to retard this urbanization. In addition, the sod under Utility-Scale Solar will preserve prime agricultural topsoil and reduce the agricultural chemicals entering our watersheds and expand pollinator habitat. After decommissioning the land can be returned to conventional agriculture in better shape than if it had grown cash grain for the same period.
Large-scale solar should be sited in I-1, I-2 or I-3 zones as a last choice
It is wasteful to permit solar on I-1, I-2 or I-3 land. Solar does not need natural gas, city water, landfill capacity, rail, river, or extensive roads. To support Industrial growth our community has already installed exactly these types of infrastructure. Our land use planning should avoid wasting this limited infrastructure.