Whitehouse Solar Site (copy)

Dominion operates a 250-acre solar facility in Louisa. Utah-based sPower hopes to build a larger solar farm in Spotsylvania.

The Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors on Tuesday postponed a public hearing for a proposed solar power facility.

The original meeting was set for Feb. 5, but the applicant, Sustainable Power Group, asked for a delay.

The supervisors did not set a new date for the public hearing, but plan to set one during their regular Feb. 12 meeting.

During Tuesday's supervisors meeting, Planning Director Wanda Parrish said officials with Sustainable Power Group, also called sPower, did not say why they wanted the delay. It was assumed the company is seeking more time to contend with the long list of conditions set by the county’s Planning Commission.

The commission this month denied two of three special permits the Utah-based company applied for to construct the 500 megawatt facility in rural western Spotsylvania on land zoned for agricultural use. The company wants to install about 1.8 million solar panels on three swaths of timber property totaling 6,300 acres.

The site is bordered, in places, by homes, including the Fawn Lake neighborhood. Residents have formed groups and come out in force against the project.

Residents have said the project is too big to be near homes and that it poses potential health and environmental risks. They also are concerned about impacts to property values and say the county could, in the end, be left with a costly mess to clean up.

The company disputes opponents' claims, saying the project would prove beneficial economically for the county and that scientific evidence backs up its position that the facility would be safe.

The company made numerous adjustments to the plans before the planning commission set more conditions.

The additional restrictions focused on such things as setbacks from properties, erosion control, construction impacts, prohibiting solar panels with cadmium telluride, the use of groundwater and burning debris. 

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Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436