By CULPEPER STAR–EXPONENT
Less than three weeks after submitting revised plans for a solar power plant on some 1,600 acres in southern Culpeper County, the company behind the Cricket Solar project has withdrawn the application altogether.
Word came late Monday from McGuire Woods’ attorney Ann Neil Cosby of the company’s intent to pull the conditional use permit application it filed Dec. 21.
“On behalf of Cricket Solar LLC, I am writing to formally withdraw Cricket’s Conditional Use Permit application,” she wrote in a letter to Culpeper County Planning Director Sam McLearen. “Cricket has been working diligently over the last few months redesigning the project boundaries to protect wetlands, improve efficiencies, and respond to community concerns related to the project.”
The local group, Citizens for Responsible Solar, has increasingly called for the project to be delayed to address neighbors’ concerns about natural and historic resources in the area. The proposed site is near the Rapidan River and Civil War battlefields.
In Monday’s letter, Cosby said efforts to respond to community concerns remain ongoing.
“However, at this time, the company believes a withdrawal of the project is necessary in order to ensure that any project proposed represents Cricket’s best effort to address community concerns,” she stated.
The county Planning Commission hearing on the case, which had been scheduled for Sept. 11, has been canceled, McLearen said.
Asked when Baywa, the California company behind the Cricket project, plans to amend its application for a conditional-use permit to build the solar facility along Algonquin Trail, BayWa Development Manager Whitney Rubin said it doesn’t have a time frame for resubmitting its proposal.
“BayWa has been and will continue to be a good neighbor,” Rubin said in an email to the Star-Exponent late Monday.