Up until Sussex County Council’s Aug. 29 meeting, solar farm applications have soared through with little discussion. The council has acted on more than a dozen over the past year.
With more solar farm applications on the agenda, council approved two and denied one, which is the first time one has been rejected.
Council denied an application filed by Frankford Community Energy Initiative for a solar farm on a 43-acre parcel on the east side of Route 113, south of Lazy Lagoon Road near Frankford.
Councilman Doug Hudson said officials should take a closer look at the locations of the proposed solar farms.
“There have been a lot of arrays requested, and depending on where the application is intended to go, we should keep them in mind with a lot of scrutiny and keep in mind farming,” he said.
Hudson said the parcel is important to farming when making a motion to deny the conditional-use application, with council voting 5-0 against the proposal.
Council approved conditional-use applications for the following: Seaford Community Energy Initiative LLC, 27 acres, near Hearn's Pond outside Seaford, and Sussex CSG2 LLC, 15 acres, on the south side of Gum Tree Road on the west side of Route 113 and north of Blueberry Lane near Frankford.
Recent pending applications include Sussex CSG1 LLC, 24 acres on Old Racetrack Road near Delmar, and Dagsboro Thorogoods Solar LLC, 28 acres on Thorogood Road near Dagsboro.
“Could we stop calling them solar farms?” asked Councilman John Rieley. “They are not in agriculture. This is a pet peeve of mine.”
“We can do that,” responded Sussex County Planning & Zoning Director Jamie Whitehouse.