Report: Conditions wanted on Morven Solar by Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-20

Update 2023-02-06: Videos: Morven Solar at Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19.

In front of a standing-room-only audience, and after long hesitation, the Brooks County Planning Commission voted 3-1 to recommend Conditional Approval for the Morven Solar project, pending “A Valid Road use Agreement put in-place” and “Erosion Measures provided and Filtration Plants in the Retention Ponds”.

Here is the report sent from the Planning Commission to the County Commission for its decision on February 6th. The report has some puzzling omissions.

[Meeting 2023-01-19, Recommendation 2023-01-20]
Meeting 2023-01-19, Recommendation 2023-01-20

Staff still recommends denial, and the included Staff Analysis is the same as provided before the Planning Commission meeting.

[Subject, History, and Recommendation]
Subject, History, and Recommendation

The actual decision will be made at the Brooks County Commission meeting, 5 PM, Monday, February 6, 2023. According to the Planning Commission agenda, that County Commission meeting will be held at the Brooks County Courthouse Second Floor Courtroom, at 100 E. Screven Street. Also according to the agenda, there will be a Second Public Hearing at that County Commission meeting before the Commission votes.

Thanks to Melissa Smith, Code Enforcement/Zoning Agent, for sending “attached from the Planning Commission Meeting to the Board of Commissioners.”

However, there are a few things I don’t understand in that PDF document.

[Suitable use, nearby property including wetlands, reasonable economic use as currentlly zoned]
Suitable use, nearby property including wetlands, reasonable economic use as currentlly zoned

The report document includes the Staff Analysis, which is identical to that in the Planning Commission board packet. That I understand.

[Checklist with fees]
Checklist with fees

Then the report document includes the Special Exception Application down through “3. Landowner Authorizations”.

Landowner Authorizations

But it omits the last five sections, on noise, Blue Ridge Power, job creation, the PowerUp Program, waste management, equipment, which are all topics discussed during the Planning Commission meeting.

[Tree Survey w. tree cleared areas]
Tree Survey w. tree cleared areas

It also omits the long-form 21-page Site Plan, which contains information on topics discussed during the Planning Commission meeting: species habitat, tree survey, decomissioning, electrical design, vegetative buffer, and wetlands.

[Chair Pat Sharp, SGRC Sherry Davidson]
Chair Pat Sharp, SGRC Sherry Davidson

After the truncated Special Exception Application, the PDF includes Planning Commission Meeting Minutes, which includes mention of almost every speaker for or against. Except me.

[McLeod, Biles, Larko, Whiddon, Price]
McLeod, Biles, Larko, Whiddon, Price

My name is checked on the Sign In sheets included at the end of the PDF, and the people before and after me on that sheet are checked and their response is in the Minutes, but there is no mention of me.

[Sheet 1]
Sheet 1

I thought perhaps they had decided only to record people who actually live in Brooks County. No, listed as speaking for is one person who gave a Valdosta address, and two who gave Florida addresses.

[Lawson, Sapp, McLeod]
Lawson, Sapp, McLeod

Also recorded as speaking for were four of the applicants, who do not even live in Georgia.

[More for; then Opposition: Jim Tunison, Peg Howard]
More for; then Opposition: Jim Tunison, Peg Howard

I can only guess that this omission was in error. It is especially odd because I recommended basically what the Commission voted: yes, but, as in approval after some conditions.

When I publish the videos I took, I will compare the speakers against the Minutes and the Sign In sheet to see if anybody else was omitted.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

5 thoughts on “Report: Conditions wanted on Morven Solar by Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-20

  1. Pingback: Pictures: sites of Morven Solar 2023-01-18 | WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) is Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

  2. Roy Lawson

    I was a speaker from Florida to support my family from Morven, but working to move back there now. If we can work out something on dual use (sheep seems to be the best fit so far) that would make relocating much easier because I would have as many a several hundred acres to graze, depending on who else in my family wants to also graze it.

    As for the approval vote / denial text that is quite curious. Your case might have confused them because you signed in as opposed but indicated some support in your speech.

    That was one of the strangest public meetings I have ever been two because of the ending. When they read off the denial part at the end, then asked if anyone had a motion, I assumed it would be to adjourn and I was ready to drive back to Florida with a loss. The Commissioners I spoke with indicated that they usually go with the recommendation of this board. So I when they changed their denial to approval I was doubting my own ears.

    At meetings here in Florida we go at it like anywhere else. Rough and tumble politics. But unlikely to ever see your opponent again. At this meeting just about everyone knows just about everyone and very likely to see each other again. Probably the same week.

    I don’t think either side has this in the bag. The February 6th meeting could go either way.

  3. Roy Lawson

    One of the speakers, Beth Lawson, is the wife of my grandfather Howard Lawson and lives at the same residence as him in Georgia. They marked her as being from my address in Florida. That is not correct. She didn’t speak other than to say “strongly supports”.

    Who are the other two from Florida? I don’t remember – I thought I was the only one but wasn’t paying close attention to the stated addresses.

  4. Pingback: Videos: Morven Solar at Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19 | WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) is Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

Comments are closed.