Solar farm being considered

JONESVILLE — The Jonesville Town Council approved a proposed zoning ordinance amendment Monday night which would add solar farms as a conditional use.

Council members agreed at their August meeting to ask the Jonesville Planning Board to consider the amendment after town officials were contacted by officials of a firm interested in setting up a solar farm, also known as a photovoltaic power station, in their planning jurisdiction. Upon considering the matter, Planning Board members voted to amend the zoning ordinance for R-20, low-density residential districts to include solar farms among the possible conditional uses.

The council passed the proposed amendment by a unanimous vote, allowing town officials to place certain conditions on solar farms which Town Manager Scott Buffkin said afterward might include as an example, buffer-type landscaping in the event of a bordering residence.

Now that the zoning ordinance amendment has been approved, Buffkin said he expects to hear from representatives of the firm who contacted town officials earlier about the solar farm. “They were looking at a piece of property on Fall Creek Church Road,” he said, “and every indication that I’ve had is that they will be moving forward with that very shortly.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, council members voted unanimously to place two speed tables — which are larger and flatter than speed bumps, similar to the ones near the Elkin Public Library — along Triplett Street in an effort to reduce the speed of traffic in that area. Buffkin said town staff will be asked to help determine where the speed tables will be placed in the area.

Also at Monday’s meeting, R.J. Mosley of McGill Associates engineering firm out of Hickory reviewed the town’s Community Block Development Grant application to assist areas with predominantly low-to-moderate income households in need of water line replacement and/or repair.

The areas being surveyed for the replacements/repairs include Catherine Lane, Cedarbrook Road, Cemetery Street, Cherry Street, Hamby Lane, Mineral Springs Drive, North Main Street, Pickett Street, Pinnix Street, River Road and Shaw Street. Depending on results of the income surveys, some or all of the areas will be included in the project.

No one spoke on the proposed improvements at a public hearing scheduled for the meeting.

In other business, Buffkin said the town’s code enforcement official had been asked to identify any existing, non-conforming violations of the town’s zoning ordinance. “Some of these have been present for several years,” he said in his agenda notes.

Buffkin asked council members for their approval in having town officials take a more active role in identifying and seeking to eliminate as many of the non-conforming violations as possible, “especially those located in high traffic or gateway areas.” Council members gave their consensus to move forward on the matter.

Contact Kathy Chaffin at 336-258-4058.

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