Ordinance approved to tax solar projects under 5 megawatts

An updated look at redistricting Option C. Gottschalk will move forward revising and refining with this map.

Last month, both the Chase City Town Council and the Board of Supervisors approved a boundary adjustment on property owned by Microsoft. Microsoft originally approached the Board because they wanted to cut down on the regulatory agencies they would have to deal with going forward.

This month, Microsoft applied to rezone the property—located on the west and east side of High Street, about 200 feet south of its intersection with Reamy Lane—from Agricultural to Industrial M-1. The Board scheduled and held a public hearing Monday. No public comment was made, and the Board unanimously agreed to approve the application.

The Board also hosted a public hearing regarding taxation on solar projects under five megawatts. County Administrator Wayne Carter explained that while the county does currently assess each megawatt at a $1,400 annual tax, there is no escalation clause because at the time of adoption, it was not allowed by law. Additionally, our original ordinance did not tax projects of five megawatts or less.

However, a new law has passed the General Assembly that does allow the an escalation clause. An escalation clause allows the county to increase that tax ten percent every five years. We will also now be taxing projects under megawatts at the same $1,400 per megawatt and ten percent more each five years.

Chairman Charles Jones made the motion to approve this ordinance. The board approved it unanimously.

Following this action, the board held a public hearing on the proposed solar ordinance. Chairman Tom Tanner was the first to make a motion of approval; the board followed suit and also approved it unanimously.

Alex Gottschalk re-presented the four redistricting options before the Board. He received little to no public comments in the month since he last presented the proposed maps to the board. With nothing to change in the public’s eyes, he turned to the Board this month to find out which option they prefer. Once that is established, he will continue to refine the chosen map until the Board and then the Virginia Office of the Attorney General approves it.

When discussion first opened, some of the Board members expressed a strong preference for both Options C and D. Last month, a majority of the Board agreed that those two were the better options.

Chairwoman Claudia Lundy announced her favor for Option C.

The main differences between Option C and our current District Map are as follows:

  • District 1 stays east but terminates at U.S. 1 and does not continue to the Roanoke River / Lake Gaston; rather, it continues north of the River up the U.S. 1 corridor towards Big Fork.
  • District 2 takes all of Chase City, while losing the Town of Boydton and parts of Skipwith
  • District 3 is south of U.S. 58 and ends at the Roanoke River / Lake Gaston
  • District 4 encompasses two South Hill wards; loses all area south of town
  • District 5 encompasses one South Hill ward and loses other portions of town
  • District 6 retains the Highway 47 area, ends at Highway 58, loses Baskerville, gains the areas south of South Hill, continues along 85 to Bracey, and gains the rest of 85 south of the Roanoke River.
  • District 7 ends in the east at Baskerville Road and extends south past U.S. 58 towards to Roanoke River, gaining all of North Bend and goes part U.S. 4 towards Eureka Road in the east. District 7 loses its part of Chase City.
  • District 8 gains access to the Roanoke River as well as expands to Occoneechee State Park and the Town of Boydton.
  • District 9 loses some of Highway 15 north of the Roanoke River and gains portions of Nelson to US 15 North.

Together, the Board decided to move forward with Option C as a basis so that Gottschalk can continue to refine and revise the map as necessary.

Robert Hendricks presented a preliminary plat for lot 2321 on the Lake Plans. The lot—made up 21 lots total, the largest of which is 7 acres—will be located off of Country Club Road. VDOT has suggested that the best option for having so many lots so close together is to build shared driveways.

Hendricks shared that he’s talked with the developer, and they report that they may be changing the size of the lots to do away with the shared drives. Hendricks reminded that this was just a preliminary plat. They are still doing soil and other work before the final plat comes in. Chairwoman Lundy made a motion to approve, and the Board approved it unanimously.

At the Secondary Road Committee’s most recent meeting, VDOT proposed a construction estimate increase from $155,000 per mile to $185,000 per mile. They cite the rising gas and material prices as the cause for the increase.

There is an additional $406,000 in their proposed FY2022 plan; VDOT recommended that the funds be allocated to the county’s existing roads rather than adding new roads at this time. Chairman David Brankley motioned to take the reallocation to a public hearing in the next month.