ROWLAND — The Town Council will send at letter to Robeson County officials expressing concerns with plans for the construction of a solar farm near the town.
The council decided on the action after hearing residents’ concerns about the farm, which would be located outside the town’s jurisdiction.
“Communication is key,” Mayor Elizabeth Hunt said. “We need to be involved in matters like this and we weren’t.”
A 26,000-panel solar farm will be constructed by Carolina Solar on 28 acres of land off West Mill Street. Hunt said, while only eight to 10 households will be affected, she feels as though Rowland was left in the dark.
“We would have liked to receive notice at the town office in the beginning,” Hunt said. “We value all the services the county gives us but this is a partnership and we were saddened when we weren’t involved since it affects some of our residents.”
Hunt said only residents who live near the planned project were aware of Carolina Solar’s plans.
“Public notice was only mailed to the homes adjacent to the property,” Hunt said. “Nobody else, not even local government knew this was coming. It’s pretty much a surprise to us all.”
The town will send the letter to the Robeson County Board of Commissioners and the county’s Planning Board.
“I don’t want to move out of Rowland,” said 65-year-old Walter Hodge. “I’ve lived here for 43 years but I can’t bear to look at a solar farm from my property every single day.”
Hodge said the land should remain farmland, adding that “crop reduction is bad business.”
“The land they are using is some of the most fertile soil I’ve seen,” Hodge said. “There’s a better use for that land then what they have planned.”
During public comment, the commissioners heard from:
— Larry Franklin, who is concerned with stray dogs and recommended that more traps be set.
— Mary Thompson, who recommended that a ditch be filled or a street light be placed on East Church Street to prevent traffic accidents.
— Dr. David Brooks, of the Robeson County Veterinary Medical Association, who said that county veterinary clinics will offer spaying and neutering at discounted prices from March 4 through March 16.
— Parth Patel, who requested that he be able to open a Internet café at Border Shell.
In other business, the council:
— In other action on Tuesday, the council scheduled a parade on Feb. 23 honoring Rowland native, Vonta Leach, a fullback for the Baltimore Ravens, who won the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. It will be from 1 to 4 p.m.
— Named Commissioner Jean Love to serve on the Lumber River Council of Government’s Transportation Committee.
— Voted not to participate in the North Carolina League of Municipalities’ effort to oppose rate increases from Duke and Progress Energy. The cost to join the effort was $500.
— Adopted a resolution approving a water shortage response plan.
— Voted to ask for $550 from the county to fix the roof at the Rowland Senior Citizens Center.