The Craven County Board of Commissioners had a busy evening Monday during its first regular meeting of the month.
First up on the agenda was a public hearing for a solar energy facility ordinance for Craven County.
Several proponents spoke in support of the ordinance during the public hearing with no one speaking out against it.
Terry Van Sickle resides across the street from a proposed solar farm location on Territorial Road and presented a slide show to meeting attendants in support of the ordinance. He spoke on behalf of his neighbors.
“It’s likely the land will never be able to go back to agricultural with some of the tampering and maintenance they’ll do to the land to make the structure sound and feed the grid,” Van Sickle said.
He was also concerned about the investment he’d made in his home only to have a potential eyesore installed across the street.
The ordinance includes several stipulations to protect farmland, neighborhoods and military installations from the burgeoning solar farms.
While some members of the board were ready to pass the ordinance as is, because it was the first reading, it required unanimous approval. Commissioner Jason Jones asked for more time for his constituents to review the ordinance, which is available at www.cravencountync.gov/boards/public/hearings.cfm.
Commissioner Steve Tyson said he wanted the ordinance to include a requirement to notify landowners and homeowners in proximity to proposed solar farm locations.
Commissioner Tom Mark spoke in favor of passing the ordinance during Monday’s meeting and making any necessary changes after it goes into effect.
Chairman George Liner expressed concern about tabling the ordinance until the next meeting because the next meeting is a daytime meeting and public comments are only heard during the evening meeting.
In the end, the commissioners chose to postpone taking action on the ordinance until the next meeting.
Commissioner Scott Dacey, Commissioner Theron McCabe, Vice Chairman Johnnie Sampson and Jones voted to postpone the adoption of the ordinance while Mark, Tyson and Liner voted against postponement. The ordinance will be brought before the commissioners again at the meeting at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 21.
The board also heard from City of Havelock Planning Director Katrina Marshall about extending Havelock’s extraterritorial jurisdiction by two miles. In order for a city to extend its ETJ more than one mile, the city must receive approval from the county Board of Commissioners.
The board unanimously approved the resolution allowing Havelock to exercise extraterritorial authority up to two miles from its city limit boundary.
In other board news, Craven County Information Technology Director Dennis Holton and Craven County Schools Director of Technology Franz Altman asked the board to consider enhancing Havelock’s fiber network, improving the school system and the city’s technology infrastructure.
The board unanimously approved a fund balance appropriation not to exceed $37,500 to enhance the fiber network.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting will take place at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 21 in the commissioners meeting room at 406 Craven St.
Contact Jennifer Cannon at 252-635-5671. Follow her on Twitter at JCannonNBSJ.