Update on Industrial Solar

After conducting several closed work-sessions, the Planning Commission has finalized an industrial solar ordinance to present at an upcoming public hearing— likely to occur sometime this spring.
Will Mayer
March 15, 2021

After conducting several closed work-sessions, the Planning Commission has finalized an industrial-solar ordinance to present at an upcoming public hearing— likely to occur sometime this spring.

The content of this ordinance has not been made public.

The Planning Commission intends to present this draft ordinance—along with the developer’s industrial solar ordinance—for public review at the upcoming hearing. The Planning Commission has not announced the date of this meeting, however Clark Coalition continues to monitor the situation and will share updates as they become available. 

In December, the Planning Commission conducted three work sessions within the span of a single week (Dec. 14th, 16th and 21st) and a fourth on Jan. 26th with the purpose of producing a solar ordinance. In our open letter to the community on December 4th (link), we objected to these proceedings for their lack of thoroughness and public input.

The work sessions – which did not allow public attendance or comment during the course of the meetings – were characterized by a number of technical difficulties. Poor audio quality in all of the sessions made it difficult to understand some Planning Commissioners. On Dec. 14th, an area-wide internet outage prevented citizens in South and West Clark County from following the meeting. And a discontinuous internet connection at City Hall on Dec. 16th left Zoom participants unable to hear or see the discussion for periods of up to 12 minutes. This process has been wrought with complications and significant transparency issues.

Just as shockingly, the Planning Commission created an industrial solar ordinance after these work sessions—accommodating industrial solar in Clark County without updating our Comprehensive Plan, which is our legal guidepost for managing new land uses today and in the future; without conducting a public hearing; and without openly reviewing objective research about the short and long-term effects of solar factories on our environment, our economy, our property values, and our quality of life.

In September, more than 300 citizens attended a public meeting to make their voices heard, only to be turned away; hundreds have written letters to our elected officials and nearly 3,000 have signed a petition expressing their opposition to industrial solar in Clark County’s rural area.

That a Commission entrusted with the interests of Clark Countians should so explicitly deny public participation in answering fundamental growth questions affecting our future, and then drafting related laws is unacceptable.

However, we, the citizens of Clark County, do not have to accept this. We can and should answer this fundamental question: is this land-use appropriate in our special community?

The Planning Commission aims to present their draft ordinance permitting industrial solar—alongside the solar developer’s proposed ordinance—at a public hearing in the near future. We will keep you posted of the details as they unfold.

In the meantime, contact your Planning Commissioners and demand a transparent process affording all of us a right to be heard on this pivotal development issue. Winchester-Clark County deserves no less.

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