MACo: Solar Siting Commission Should Broaden Charge, Membership

On Tuesday, Les Knapp testified in support of SB 744 Protecting Natural Resources and Preserving Productive Farms – Commission on the Development of a Blueprint for Solar Energy in Maryland  with amendments.

From the MACo Testimony:

Broadly, MACo supports the goals of the bill. MACo and many counties have been engaged in a similar exercise over the last several years to ensure that large solar facilities are properly sited through local zoning so that the facilities are viable but important local priorities, such as prime agricultural lands, are protected. Ensuring local zoning has a role in the siting of solar facilities was previously a MACo Legislative Initiative and led to the passage of HB 1350 of 2017…

…MACo does caution against a one-size-fits-all approach, however, as different counties have zoned for solar in ways that work best for their residents. Some counties have identified specific parcels of land for solar development while others have established floating zones or special exceptions.

MACo offers four amendments to SB 744:

1.Add an additional MACo representative, specifying one representative must be from an urban county and one representative must be from a rural county.

2.Allow MACo to select its representatives instead of going through the appointment process (similar to what the Maryland Farm Bureau has in the bill).

3.In the bill section discussing areas where solar development should be encouraged, add “6. lands zoned for solar development by a local government.”

4.In the bill section discussing areas where solar development should be discouraged, add “6. lands not zoned for solar development by a local government.”

For more on 2019 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.

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