Commissioners approve new solar regulations

By Linton Johnsonlinton@wsgcradio.com

The Elbert County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to approve an amendment to the county’s zoning ordinance to add regulations on large solar farms as well as solar connections to residential units.
During a public hearing prior to the commissioners’ regular meeting, County Administrator Bob Thomas outlined some of the provisions for the commissioners. “The solar ordinance includes building-mounted solar energy systems, which mainly will be houses,” Thomas said. “In the residential districts, the system shall not be located on the front slope of a pitched roof unless there is no other location for it. The ground-mounted (system) shall not be located in the front yard in the residential area, and there is a height restriction of 20 feet. There are regulations regarding the mounting of the solar panels. There are setback requirements of a minimum of 50 feet from all property lines and 100 feet from any residence.”
No citizens spoke for or against the new solar ordinance during the public hearing.
In other business, the commissioners heard a report from County Finance Officer Phil Pitts regarding the process of adopting a millage rate for tax year 2018. Due to significant increases in property values as a result of recent reassessments, Pitts said the state is recommending that the county roll back its millage rate from 11.976 mills to 11.125 mills.
“There’s no other way to approach it,” Pitts said, “unless, and I don’t believe there was an intention of the board to have any kind of increase. So that’s what we’re dealing with, and we’ll see how it plays out. It is going to be a tight budget year for sure.”
A draft request for qualifications to be issued by the local Development Authority was distributed to the board for review prior to consideration of approval next month. Once issued, the authority will seek proposals for the design and construction of a speculative industrial building for economic development in the Industrial Park on Mineral Springs Road.
The commissioners also voted to appoint Kyra Graves to succeed Rudine Phelps on the Board of Family and Children Services for a term to continue until June 30, 2023, and to approve a software purchase for the County Shop to use in the diagnosis of current equipment at a cost of $8,070 in special purpose local option sales tax funds.

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