On June 22nd, the Clark County Fiscal Court held its second reading of an ordinance on utility-scale solar facilities. The ordinance passed on a 5-2 vote.
The first reading of the ordinance on May 25th had received a unanimous 7-0 vote.
The ordinance – which “intends to prevent utility-scale solar development within the Agricultural Zone in order to preserve farmland, protect historic resources, and ensure that development is compatible with neighboring properties” – is now in effect.
Voting in favor of the ordinance: 1st District Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulos, 2nd District Magistrate Ernest Pasley, 3rd District Magistrate Steve Craycraft, 4th District Magistrate Mark Miller, and 5th District Magistrate Chris Davis.
Voting against: 6th District Magistrate Robert Blanton and Judge-Executive Les Yates.
The passage of a local ordinance was necessary due to a change in state law that took effect June 29th. Without a local ordinance in place, the solar developers would have been able to apply to the state siting board under diminished regulations. Notably, that process also greatly reduces the ability of local citizens to determine local land-use policy for their communities.
The ordinance maintains local control of the solar issue while Winchester-Clark County’s Comprehensive Plan Update is finalized– a process that Clark Coalition first called for in October 2020.
While this is an important milestone, our work to protect Clark County from Industrial Solar is not finished. The foreign and out-of-state solar developers are not giving up yet.
The next step is securing appropriate language in the Comprehensive Plan. There will be an important Public Hearing on the Comprehensive Plan in September. We strongly encourage you to attend. We will provide details when the date and location are confirmed.
The Comprehensive Plan’s Goals & Objectives will then go to the City Commission and County Fiscal Court for adoption.