by Jackie Nunnery
LANCASTER—Citing “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable” setback conditions and an “abuse of discretion” by the county and its board of supervisors, solar developer Impact Power Solutions LLC (IPS) and property owner J. Rawleigh Simmons on November 28 filed a complaint against the county and board in Lancaster County Circuit Court regarding their special exception application to develop a 2-megawatt, 10.7-acre solar facility on Mary Ball Road near Chases Road.
According to the complaint prepared by John Fishwick of Fishwick & Associates PLC, after Simmons and IPS submitted the application on February 24, IPS representatives tried contacting county staff about the status “over the course of several months,” but received no indications about when the application would proceed. It was not until September 15 that the planning commission completed a “2232 review” for the project, voting 5-1 that it substantially complied with the comprehensive plan and recommended its approval to the board of supervisors.
Meanwhile, the county significantly increased the required setbacks for utility scale solar facilities. When Simmons and IPS had applied for the special exception request, the setback along Mary Ball Road was 250 feet. The ordinance adopted four months later on June 30 increased the setback to 1,150 feet on two-lane roads, and 1,075 feet on four lane….
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