Following two public hearings Monday night, the Four Oaks Town Council approved two solar farm projects within their extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). As part of approving the projects, both applicants agreed to be voluntarily annexed into the Four Oaks town limits.
Keen Farm, LLC was given a special use permit for a solar farm on 42 acres of land at 1800 Keen Road near the intersection with Holly Road. Strata Solar will be constructing the solar farm starting in the fall with completion in about three months. Town officials asked if the property owner, Julie Ann Thomas, or the developer were willing to have the property annexed.
“I’m not telling you I won’t vote for you if you don’t do it,” Commissioner Vic Medlin told the applicants, who did agree to the voluntary annexation. The board was unanimous in approving the request.
The Town Council also approved a more controversial solar farm near the Four Oaks Middle School campus. Langdon Solar Farm LLC will be developed on a 45 acre tract of land at 879 Boyette Road. The solar farm will be located about 500 feet off the roadway. Town officials were concerned about the impact on traffic, adjacent property values, and whether a solar farm was the best use of the property.
After receiving assurances from several adjacent property owners they were not opposed to the solar farm, the board voted 4-to-1 to rezone the land from residential to business. In a unanimous vote, the board approved the conditional use permit, with the stipulation the solar farm developer, Strata Solar, would work with the Town to address concerns about drainage off the site towards the Forest Hills Subdivision. Work on the Boyette Road solar farm will begin this Fall.
Strata officials agreed to work with the Town and Johnston County school officials to ensure construction traffic would have little to no impact on school traffic in the mornings and afternoons at Four Oaks Middle.