Carroll County commissioners prioritize farmland preservation, vote against community solar projects in Ag Zones
In a decisive move, Carroll County commissioners have voted unanimously to prohibit the construction of community solar panel projects on agricultural land. This decision comes after months of extensive debates, and public hearings.
District 4 Commissioner Michael Guerin, who initiated the motion to recommend removing community solar systems from land zoned agriculture on May 18, expressed his support, stating, “Let’s do this. That’s it.”
Guerin and his colleagues’ ultimate choice to ban community solar projects on agricultural land stems from their commitment to safeguarding farmland and agriculture in Carroll County. Carroll County takes pride in being one of the leading agricultural counties in the nation and seeks to maintain this reputation.
District 3 Commissioner Tom Gordon III emphasized that this decision is primarily a zoning matter. “It’s not just about farming. It’s not about the view my neighbor looks at or doesn’t look at. It comes down to zoning. It’s industrial use or ag.”
District 1 Commissioner Joseph Vigliotti underscored that the board’s decision is not a reflection on solar power itself but rather on where it should be implemented. Vigliotti suggested that it is more appropriate to install solar panels on residential rooftops or industrial-zoned land.
“When it comes to altering the agricultural zones of our county, we’re not just talking about changing the use of the land…We’re talking about changing the nature of the county”, said Vigliotti.
District 2 Commissioner Ken Kiler conveyed similar sentiments, stating that he found the original decision made by the prior board in 2021 unsuitable even when it was approved.
Commissioner Ed Rothstein, who was a member of the 2021 board that voted in favor of community solar on agricultural land in 2021, changed his vote to follow the lead of his colleagues.
Commissioners Guerin, Gordon, Kiler and Vigliotti’s unwavering dedication to farmland preservation and the prioritization of agriculture in their decision-making process underscore their commitment to maintaining the county’s agricultural heritage while exploring alternative avenues for renewable energy implementation.