Council takes dim view as d-day for solar farm nears
A proposal for a $15million solar farm which has led to deep rifts in a small community will soon come before the Northern Region Planning Panel for determination.
Coffs Harbour City Council has recommended refusing it due to adverse impact and insufficient information provided within the time frames.
The proposal is for 50,000 solar panels mounted across the 72 hectare site, located on both sides of Ferretts Rd at Nana Glen.
In initial planning documents Rio Indygen, the UK-based company behind the proposal, indicated they're seeking approval to operate the farm for up to 25 years, after which all above-ground components would be removed and the land restored to its former agricultural potential.
Due to the type and value of the development, it is considered 'regional development' and must therefore be finally determined by the State Government's Northern Regional Planning Panel (NRPP) and not by council.
The panel will meet on December 4 at 5pm at Council Chambers to assess the application.
"The purpose of the meeting is to give interested people the opportunity to speak directly to the panel before a decision is made," project officer Lisa Foley outlined in a letter to residents this week.
The residents' group fighting the plan has warned it could be part of a foreign land grab and says it will be a glary eyesore and dramatically reduce property values.
"I'm not a conspiracy freak, but I look at direct links. The information provided to our group indicates this company is a development company alone. At the end of construction the site will be on sold," group spokesman Chris Clarke said.
Those wishing to address the panel must register to speak by contacting the Planning Panels Secretariat before 4pm Monday, December 2 on 8217 2060 or via email to email@example.com
Council's draft report which is recommending refusal will be on council website by the close of business tomorrow. (Friday, November 22).
The matter will go before Council at the November 28 meeting for information only.