Solar farmproposal asneaky one

A new solar farm is being proposed for the town of Elizabethtown. Well, sort of.

The company making the proposal, Cypress Creek Renewables out of Durham, sent out a letter late last month to Elizabethtown residents asking them to attend a meeting to hear details and offer comments about the solar farm. That meeting is set for April 11 at 6 p.m. at the Bladen County Public Library in downtown Elizabethtown.

Those details include being located on 36 acres along Eastway Avenue; will produce 5 megawatts of electricity; will power more than 1,725 homes; will be self-contained with a low-elevation profile; and will not produce any light, noise or additional traffic.

Sounds great, right?

One problem: The letter also states that “Cypress Creek Renewables is currently working with the town of Elizabethtown on the planning process …”

They aren’t. And they haven’t.

According to Town Manager Eddie Madden on Wednesday, the town has not been in communication with Cypress Creek Renewables nor has there been any application filed by the company with the town for such a project.

Solar Farms have become as thorny an issue for Elizabethtown as video gaming has been for Bladen County. It was just recently that a solar farm was proposed for the Newtown — a proposal that looked beneficial to the town from a financial perspective, but was turned down for a variety of flimsy aesthetic, safety and health-concern reasons.

Cypress Creek Renewables’ proposal seems to be, somewhat arrogantly, putting the cart well before the horse in an effort to circumvent the town’s planning board and town council until the last moment. We’re not sure how things are done up in the Durham area, but around here, bringing a proposal to town officials is the expected first step — and really, the letter’s deception is easily enough to look at this proposal with a jaundiced eye.

Should residents attend the community meeting with Cypress Creek Renewables? That’s up to each person, but we see little or no reason for any meeting or discussion to take place. The proposal isn’t on any town drawing board or agenda, so no specifics on regulations or zoning needs have been discussed between the company and the town.

We think it would be a better idea if residents got involved prior to any community meeting by emailing Cypress Creek Renewables through its website (http://ccrenew.com) and let them know the proper channel would first be through town officials.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Taking the high road is hard work — walking uphill takes strength and effort. Anyone can take the low road — walking downhill is easy.” (Rachel St. John-Gilbert)