Council to consider solar farm

By: By Katelin Gandee - Staff reporter

LAURINBURG — The Laurinburg City Council will hold a public hearing next month on proposed solar array.

The hearing will be held May 22 at 7 p.m. to consider a request for a conditional use permit for a solar farm on a 44-acre piece of land on Rea Magnet Road.

Strata Solar from High Point is looking for new sites throughout the Carolinas and believes that the Laurinburg location would work.

The proposed site will have additional evergreen plantings, no dust issues, a good use for the land, and have met all conditional use permit requirements, according to Strata Solar’s attorney Tom Terrell.

The Laurinburg Planning Board met on April 10 to discuss the request. The board approved the request 6 to 1, with Ken Jackson opposed.

Jackson said the location is less than a mile from other solar arrays, a requirement in the Unified Development Ordinance.

John Davis, the land surveyor for Strata Solar, the proposed meets the required distance as well as meeting all other guidelines from the city.

In other business, Councilwoman Mary Evans recommended the city host town hall meeting in the different districts so that council members can talk to residents on a personal level.

The council agreed to the idea and Evans would have with more information, including a date and location at the May council meeting.

Also this week, council heard a report from Terry Parker, director for ‘Tis the Season.

Parker said the goal of the $40,000 project is to turn downtown Laurinburg into a “Hallmark-inspired” holiday wonderland. The group is also trying to work with other entities like the Scotland County Board of Commissioners and the Chamber of Commerce to accomplish the goal.

Parker asked the council for $5,000. Council will consider the request during budget workshops. Parker also said that she sent funding requests to City Manager Charles Nichols to help with decorations.

A request for $5,000 was also sent to the county.

Parker explained that the group is fundraising to purchase four snow machines at $1,000 each as well as looking at an artificial ice skating rink that will cost anywhere from $20,000-$30,000.

The project will run from Thanksgiving through the new year, ending with a ball drop.

In other business, council was presented with a rough draft of the budget for the next fiscal year. The proposed budget will be $8.1 million and will keep the tax rate at $0.40.

The breakdown of the budget includes; $195,630 fund balance; $560,898 assigned fund balance, which features the beautification projects, police vehicle replacement and tsunami cameras; $17,370,766 electric fund which includes LED conversion, new substation construction, and a new gate at public works; $7,964,873 water/sewer fund, which has future well site land, sewer camera replacement, and renovated three pump stations; $2,759,156 solid waste fund, which features front loader replacements, dumpster/carts replacement, and recycling center final expansion.

The council will hold a budget workshop on May 1 at 6 p.m. in the city council chambers.

By Katelin Gandee

Staff reporter

Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171

Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171