It’s interesting to watch as two local governments try to catch up with one of the newest trends in land use.
Companies are charging ahead with solar production facilities in an effort to meet guidelines that require increased clean-energy production. The solar farms that are the current darling of the electricity producing industry can be somewhat large and futuristic looking, but they are not the kind of thing most of us want to see when we glance outside the kitchen window.
In our case locally, we have two governments trying to decide how to manage the appearances and safety of the facilities without simply turning away the opportunities these solar farms represent.
In one case, the town of Garner has suburban sensibilities to consider. A greater percentage of available land is already in use for one purpose or another. Two reasonable people can argue that some land uses wouldn’t be harmed by the location of a solar farm nearby, while others would be more greatly affected.
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In Johnston County, the planning needs are more rural, though a growing residential market exists. And Johnston County commissioners have far more land to govern and consider when they develop rules that allow solar farms to be constructed. What might be alright in the Interstate 40 corridor may not work well outside Corinth Holders or Cleveland.
Regardless of the conditions that apply, both governments should prove themselves flexible with rules that give the benefit of the doubt to new development, but leaves the governing body with the ability to say “No. Not here.”