Utility-Scale Solar belongs in what Land use Zones
Utility-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 Landuse 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.
Utility-scale solar should be a conditional use in A-2 zones.
Currently, Mason County has two major agricultural lands uses, Cow-Calf and Cash Grain. Cattle’s waste can infiltrate our groundwater unless carefully managed. Livestock on wet sod eventually leads to soil erosion. All this makes cow-calf a land use with significant environmental risk but little ability to provide economic support to the local economy.
The narrow, erratic margins in corn/soybeans push farmers to plant increasing acreage. All the while continuous cash grain rotations reduce the topsoil’s organic matter plus accelerating soil erosion. Chemicals applied to row crop fields can contaminate groundwater.
Utility-scale solar will preserve Mason County farmland for the future by stopping the soil erosion and chemical pollution of cash-grain rotations. They can also provide a substantial revenue stream to support land ownership and help support community services. It is fairly normal for 100 acres in a solar farm to contribute $24,000 yearly to community taxing authorities. It is important to remember that solar farms do not require natural gas, city water, landfill capacity, rail, river, or extensive roads. Utility-Scale Solar should be a “conditional use” in all agricultural zones.
Utility-scale solar should be a prohibited use in I-1, I-2 or I-3 zones.
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.