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Major solar energy projects may be coming to Clark

The Clark County Fiscal Court urged the county planning and zoning commission to consider amending the zoning ordinance to include solar energy uses Thursday.

John P. Rompf, an attorney representing an unnamed solar energy company, said the current ordinance does not mention solar energy development specifically.

“I think it is an opportunity for some economic development and also to increase our tax base,” Rompf said.

Rompf said there are no specific projects in Clark County at this point, but was asking for the amendment if it was appropriate.

“There’s a lot to be completed before a solar facility would be located in Clark County,” he said.

Rompf said the matter has already been before the planning and zoning commission, and the members asked for the city’s and county’s input.

Rompf used an example of a 100 megawatt facility, which would add construction jobs and a few permanent position. The property would need to be large enough to support five to seven megawatts per acre and have good access to transmission lines, he said.

Douglas Schulte and Kara Price of Geenex Solar said they are in the early stages of developing a project in Clark County as well as several other Kentucky counties.

“Kentucky is a place where there will be a lot of solar to come,” Schulte, the Kentucky director of operations for Geenex, said.

The motion for the Planning Commission to consider the resolution and text amendment was approved 6-1, with Magistrate Robert Blanton voting no citing the “unprecedented stance” of the fiscal court recommending action by the commission.

Later in the meeting, Blanton objected strenuously to an item in the minutes concerning a vote from the previous meeting about the City of Winchester taking over the financial management of Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation. Blanton said the court discussed the matter and voted to concur with the recommendation, but the minutes stated the court voted on an order for the matter.

“There was no order,” Blanton said. “Someone feels we need an order. The proper way is to bring it back at a future meeting, not to falsify an order.”

Clark County Judge-Executive Chris Pace said he spoke with County Attorney William Elkins about the matter, who said the action from the Fiscal Court is not official without an order.

Elkins was not at the meeting.

Ultimately, the court voted 5-2 to postpone the minutes until a future meeting. Blanton and Magistrate Travis Thompson voted no.

In other action, the court:

— accepted the resignation of interim treasurer Shea Champ. Champ said her husband received a job offer in northern Kenutcky and her family is moving.

— accepted the 2019 tax settlement report from Clark County Sheriff Berl Perdue Jr.

— reappointed Chris Thacker to the planning and zoning commission.

— reappointed Ernest Pasley to the East Clark County Water District.

— reappointed Tim Janes to the Clark County Public Library Board of Trustees.

— approved an order to split the cost of the July 4 fireworks with the City of Winchester.

— approved the sale of Kentucky Historic Preservation tax credits to Kentucky Bank for approximately $63,000.

— approved an agreement with Detroit Salt Company for road salt.

— approved a grant agreement with the Kentucky Division of Waste Management for composting dead animals.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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