“I believe it is in the best interest of the county to decide these matters quickly,” she said.
Ralston said the Board of Supervisors is proposing spot zoning with the new land zone that could complicate issues of transferring land ownership and raises questions about zoning for former agriculture land not covered with solar panels.
“We approve of the 300-acre limit and strongly oppose getting rid of size/acreage limitation … We are in favor of a strong solar ordinance that protects the rural character of the community, protects impacted landowners, and the environment,” Ralston said.
Ralston said in the letter to the planning commission that even though Maroon Solar modified the project to extend it over three years with smaller sections, “It is still 1,700 acres of land that will be destroyed.”
The rural landscape targeted for the project is not marginal land, she added, and has been in agricultural use for decades as timber.
“The timber was recently harvested and should be replanted. Cutting down trees and replacing them with solar panels is NOT green,” Ralston said.
Potential environmental hazards from the solar power plant project remain, she said, also noting an ongoing federal grant-funded study by Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield researching and documenting the Civil War era Rapidan Front.