One of the common statements we hear when we’re out in the community is:
“Solar? I thought that issue was over.”
Far from it.
The out-of-state and foreign solar developers are still actively trying to secure approval for their massive industrial solar facilities on 5,000 to 6,000 acres of Clark County’s prime farmland.
Over the last several months, the solar developers have launched a PR campaign featuring billboards around town. They have also attempted to hold several “community education workshops” and have sent representatives and lobbyists to local events. Most, if not all, of their “community education workshops” have been canceled due to lack of participants. Despite this, we expect the solar developers will continue their efforts and seek to influence the local process over the coming months.
So what’s next?
In order to definitively resolve the solar question, the issue must be addressed in our local Comprehensive Plan, and then, in our Zoning Ordinance. It’s important that the citizens of Winchester-Clark County continue to give public input on this critical issue throughout the Comprehensive Plan process.
We recently learned of several input sessions, all of which are to be held Friday, November 11th at the following locations:
City Hall, 11:00 a.m.
32 Wall St.
Engine House Pizza Pub, 1:00 p.m.
9 W. Lexington Ave.
Leeds Theatre, before and during the performance of Newsies Jr., 7:30 p.m.
37 N. Main St.
We strongly encourage you to attend and give your input for the Comprehensive Plan. It is unclear how many other opportunities there will be for citizens to submit comments.
While our immediate focus is on the local process, we also expect the solar developers to make a renewed push for state legislation when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.
Their proposed bill - which only narrowly missed becoming law in April 2022 - would undermine local control of solar siting and regulation. This would set a dangerous precedent with broader implications for many different types of land-use policy.
It is vital that local control of land-use policy is maintained, and that our comprehensive plan process is able to reach its conclusion. Clark Coalition will continue its work to ensure that local citizens, not out-of-state speculators, determine our local laws.