Public input sought on solar rules | RecordCourier.com

Public input sought on solar rules

An illustration of what the solar panels might look like from Kingsbury Grade that was provided by opponents Steve and Mary Walker. The photo is one of the issues listed in a lawsuit seeking to overturn a denial of a solar power generating plant.
Jay Aldrich Photography |

A new ordinance allowing industrial solar generating facilities in Douglas County could include requirements for studies, including the environmental impact of the plant.

A public meeting on the proposed ordinance was held Monday at the Douglas County Community & Senior Center, where 45 residents heard a presentation and shared their comments.

The county implemented a moratorium on new projects after rejecting two applications under its previous version.

Nevada law requires that the county have some sort of ordinance permitting the projects on private land.

In a presentation prepared by Planning Manager Hope Sullivan, Churchill County’s ordinance has several requirements that aren’t in the Douglas County rules.

Churchill requires solar panel facilities to undergo studies including noise review, impact on communication, water resources, odor control, general environmental and biological impacts, air quality and lighting.

An environmental impact statement is required for solar facilities on public lands.

Douglas is one of four counties in Northern Nevada with a solar ordinance. Carson City considers them a utility substation allowed in all zoning districts with a special permit.

Pershing County also allows the facilities on rural, ag and industrial zoning districts.

Churchill County’s rules are the most stringent, requiring the facilities with a permit in rural, ag and industrial zoning, but also banning them on ridges or peaks.

The two solar generation plants proposed in Douglas County were located off East Valley Road and behind the Minden-Gardnerville Sanitation District pond on Muller Lane.

The proponent of the Muller Lane station is suing the county over the denial.

Douglas County Planning Commissioners could hear the revised ordinance at their Feb. 9 meeting. County commissioners must conduct two readings of the new ordinance after that.

Comments about the revision may be sent to Sullivan at HSullivan@douglasnv.us