Remington Solar Power Generation Facility

Culpeper County is trying to establish guidelines for solar farms like this facility in Fauquier County.

Solar is a hot topic in Culpeper these days.

It is so hot, in fact, that the Board of Supervisors backed away from even discussing it Tuesday, perhaps hoping the issue will cool down.

For several months, the supervisors have tried to come up with a policy to deal with the solar farm issue that has become the center of controversy in the Stevensburg District. One application has already been filed and others are on the way, but the county still has no guidelines to help determine who will be permitted to fill their fields with solar panels and who will not.

The Rules Committee came up with a preliminary policy in January that was supposed to be presented to the supervisors Tuesday.

But even before discussion could begin, Rules Committee Chairman Steve Walker suggested that the policy be sent back to committee for further refinement. Supervisor Jack Frazier agreed.

Supervisor Sue Hansohn, however, said she felt that the solar issue “is so involved” that a discussion by the entire board should take place before it goes back to the rules panel.

Frazier suggested a work session and the board agreed to hold one in conjunction with its budget meeting Feb. 14.

Tony Troilo’s application for a 172-acre farm that would be built off Glen Ella Road was tabled for 60 days by the Culpeper County Planning Commission in January with the hope that a policy could be adopted before action is taken.

In other business Tuesday, VDOT engineer Mark Nesbit told the supervisors that the Brandy Station commuter parking lot, to be funded under the Smart Scale program, will go out for bids in 2020.

He added that localities are likely to be awarded only 77 percent to 80 percent of the funds requested under the VDOT revenue sharing program this year. Culpeper County has asked for $2 million in matching funds to improve six rural roads.

Hansohn asked about conflicting speed limits on the new western bypass (Ira Hoffman Lane extension) that have turned the highway into a speed trap.

“You come off [State] Route 229 and the speed limit is 50 and then you get to the Eggbornsville Road turnoff where traffic drops off and you go down to 45 miles per hour,” she said. “The state police are making a lot of money there.”

Nesbit said that he, too, had asked that question, but has yet to receive an answer as to why the speed limit on the open stretch of highway is lower than on the more congested segment.

Nesbit said that by using a $1 million private donation, work is about to begin to renovate the Waterloo Road Bridge over the Rappahannock River. He added that VDOT may add some of the renovations funds if there is a shortfall.

The board also voted to send a letter of support for a disability services center proposed for Culpeper. The project will be totally state funded.

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Donnie Johnston: djohn40330@aol.com

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