A public hearing on a solar project scheduled for Monday night before South Boston Town Council has been postponed, and Con Edison Clean Energy is working to revise plans after a commission voted against the request last week.
Con Edison was seeking a special use permit to convert an area on Robin Hood and Sutphin roads into a solar energy facility, according to South Boston Town Manager Tom Raab.
“Con Edison Clean Energy has pulled their application for special use permit to make revisions to submit at a later date,” council’s agenda reads.
“The public hearing on Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses’ special use permit application originally scheduled for Monday’s South Boston Town Council meeting has been postponed until further notice, while the SUP application is under review,” Raab told The Gazette.
Raab confirmed the South Boston Planning Commission voted against the permit application for the proposed solar facility at a Wednesday evening meeting.
“After being reviewed, Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses’ SUP application will be brought back to the South Boston Planning Commission, at which time a public hearing will be held once again,” Raab explained. “After the planning commission votes on the revised SUP application, town council will take a vote on the application following a second public hearing on the matter.”
The vote against recommending to support the proposed solar facility was unanimous.
In a Friday interview, Raab offered additional details about the planning commission’s decision to vote against the special use permit.
“I think it was because the people showed up, and they were reacting to their comments,” Raab related.
He shared that various community members in attendance at the planning commission’s public hearing regarding the proposal spoke against it, raising various concerns. None of the community members who attended were in favor of the project.
Raab summarized that community members expressed concerns about how the proposed solar facility would impact property values, whether or not it could raise personal property taxes, if the construction phase could potentially increase flooding in the area, the proximity of the facility to Trinity Baptist Church and the potential for the project to detract from the aesthetics of the area.
Despite this change to the agenda, the council will hear additional business items, the first of which will be to vote on a resolution in support of the Virginia Commission 250 Crossing of the Dan Committee and its commemoration partners.
According to Secretary of the Commonwealth Kay Coles James’ website, “The American Revolution 250 Commission is established as an advisory commission within the executive branch of state government. The purpose of the Commission is to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution, the Revolutionary War, and the independence of the United States.”
The Revolutionary War took place from 1775 to 1784, and the national commemorative event will be similarly multiyear, according America250.org.
The Crossing of the Dan Committee will promote the commemoration locally, focusing on the historic Crossing of the Dan event, which took place Feb. 14, 1781. The event was a flashpoint in the war, and the conclusion of the Race to the Dan saga in which American Gen. Nathanael Greene was able to save his troops from the ire of recently defeated British Gen. Charles Cornwallis through a diversion maneuver and epic push to safety north of the Dan River.
The event is celebrated with special reverence in South Boston, as the Boyd family, who operated Boyd’s Ferry, which Greene utilized in the Crossing of Dan, were locals. The Prizery currently sits on the site of the Boyd family home.
Because of the significance of the event locally, the Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History hosts The Crossing of the Dan permanent exhibit, which enables attendees to learn about the historical event.
The council will then hear a presentation from Makayla Field of the South Boston Police Department and will vote on whether or not to approve their meeting schedule for 2023.
Finance Director Mickey Wilkerson is expected to give the financial report for October, which will be followed by Raab’s monthly update on ongoing projects for the town.
Residents in attendance who wish to offer comments will be invited to do so after Raab’s report. The meeting is expected to adjourn into closed session to discuss employee performance reviews and acquisition of real estate.
The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday in the current council chambers, located at 502 Yancey St.
Notably, South Boston municipal offices will be closed Dec. 23 and 26 in observation of the Christmas holiday, and on Jan. 2 to observe New Year’s Day.