I resent being preached to and meant to feel like a know-nothing, bent on stopping the growth of Laurinburg and Scotland County.
I joined a group of people whose name says it all — The Laurinburg Property Value Association. To my knowledge, no one in our group has ever voiced opposition to business and job growth for Laurinburg and Scotland County. Our opposition to the 501 Strata Solar site is land use. It is my understanding that zoning laws are set for someone to meet. Next, our Planning Board looks at the proposal and considers best land use. Our Planning Board unanimously denied recommending this permit. The next step was our City Council meeting where we gathered as a concerned group of friends and neighbors to voice our opposition to the proposed solar site. I feel as if we were blind-sighted by the “quasi-judicial” ruling that only expert testimony was admissible and could be entered into record. The few voices in favor of Strata Solar do not have to live next to it and their property values will not be affected. Not one expert from Strata Solar could assure us that this could not happen.
We are now preparing for round three with the Superior Court. While we wait, we are offered articles by our local newspaper. The article, “Strata Solar hearing set for Sept. 30” begins on the front page with praise and positive propaganda for Strata and the like only to reveal less attractive points on latter pages. In the article, it says solar farms were advertised as “a step into the future for the city,” while on page two, it continues to say the Federal Government provides a tax credit worth 30 percent of the full cost of the solar farm equipment and the state comes in at 35 percent. It is our understanding that the county may only tax 20 percent of the site. Let’s not forget on Aug. 7 an article titled “McLaurin’s energy stance praised,” on the front page is all positive, referring to a REPS mandate with a picture of 10 people working. On page two is a Beacon Hill Institute study of Suffolk University that speaks to this mandate and tells us just how much North Carolina has to lose — 3,592 jobs will be lost, investment will decrease by $43.20 million and real disposable income will fall by $56.80 million by 2021. The study said that the state economic output measured in real gross domestic product will be $140.35 million lower than the mandate. The summery is, the measure will drive up electricity costs.
Having said all this, we are not against solar farms — just not on some of the most visible land for those traveling to the coast, or adjacent to some of the finest homes in Scotland County. With all the fallow land that is good for nothing else but a solar farm, why pick this spot?
Please Strata, take your government subsidies, foreign-made metal and glass behemoth along with those great jobs you will be creating and build where no other future is possible. Leave the beautiful piece of farmland with such great future growth potential alone. So to this newspaper’s view, I guess this means when the appeal is heard in Superior Court, you hope the voice that rings the loudest comes from the law firm on retainer from somewhere other than Laurinburg or Scotland County. Shame on you.