A public hearing was held today at 9:30 a.m. in the County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, County Government Center, Chestertown, Maryland on Code Home Rule Bill No. 2-2010, which is an Act to amend Article V, Sections 14.2 (Employment Center-Permitted Uses and Structures), 15.2 (Industrial-Permitted Uses and Structures) and Article XI, Section 2 (Definitions) of the Kent County Land Use Ordinance to add new provisions for utility scale solar energy systems.
County Commissioners Roy Crow, Ronald Fithian, and William Pickrum, were in attendance as well as Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, Gail Owings, Director of Planning, Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, approximately 10 interested persons and 3 members of the media.
Commissioner Crow read the Notice of Public Hearing into the record.
Correspondence dated July 23, was received from Elizabeth Morris, Chairman, Planning Commission, informing that at the July 1, 2010 meeting, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the following amendments to the text of the Kent County Land Use Ordinance:
Amend Article V, Sections 14.2 (Employment Center Permitted Uses) and 15.2 (Industrial Permitted Uses) of the Land Use Ordinance by adding the following:
17. Solar Energy Systems, Utility Scale, provided
a. A solar collection device or combination of devices are designed and located to avoid glare or reflection onto adjacent properties and adjacent roadways and shall not interfere with traffic or create a safety hazard.
b. Screening, capable of providing year round screening, is provided along the non-reflective axis of the solar collection device or collection of devices.
c. Roof mounted solar collection devices shall not extend more than 10 feet from the top of the roof. The total height of the building including the solar collection devices shall comply with the height regulations.
d. Solar collection devices shall not exceed 45 feet in height.
e. All solar collection devices shall register with the Department of Emergency Services and shall submit a map noting the location of the solar collection devices and the panel disconnection.
Amend Article XI, Section 2 (Definitions) of the Land Use Ordinance by adding the following:
301 ¼ Solar Energy Systems, Utility Scale: Any device or combination of devices or elements which rely upon direct sunlight as an energy source,
including but not limited to any substance or device which collect sunlight for generating energy primarily for use off-site. Energy generated may be used to serve on site power needs.
In its discussion, the Planning Commission found that there is a public need for alternative energy sources and sustainable practices, and that the promotion of alternative energy sources is promoted in the Comprehensive Plan. The Commission noted that the proposed text amendments do not apply to property in the Critical Area.
Ms. Owings informed that this amendment is the first in a series of potential amendments concerning alternative energy sources.
Ms. Owings stated that the Renewable Energy Task Force made a suggestion that that the language in 17. b state that “…screening, is provided along any side that does not provide solar collection”, rather than “…screening, is provided along the non-reflective axis of the solar collection device or collection of devices.” The Task Force felt that their suggested language was clearer than the originally proposed language. The Commissioners concurred with this change.
John Vail questioned whether there are any impervious surface implications for this zoning text amendment. Ms. Owings responded that there are no implications within these districts. She continued that any impervious surface implications in other districts will vary according to the system used. Stormwater Management regulations will apply as appropriate as they do with any other type of project.
William Short questioned what will happen to the trees already planted in the industrial park. Ms. Owings stated that this will be an issue addressed during site plan review.
Mr. Vail questioned the setback requirements for the industrial park. Ms. Owings responded that the setback requirements for the industrial district are 10-15 feet; however, there is generally flexibility for creativity in site planning within the industrial district.
This hearing was taped for reference and adjourned at 9:55 a.m.
Third reading of this proposed legislative bill will be held on August 3, the next legislative day.
THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Denisha C. Brown
Roy W. Crow, President