The Person County Board of Commissioners will hold its first meeting of February Monday night with an agenda that features several major topics.
The commissioners will convene in the Person County Auditorium in the County Office Building on South Morgan Street at 7 p.m.
The meeting will be open to the public in-person and online at youtube.com/c/PersonCounty.
Among items on the agenda, the commissioners will hear a proposal for a large solar project in the county northwest of Hyco Lake by Cypress Creek Renewables.
The company proposes an 80-megawatt project that will include 380 acres of parcels over a total parcel area of 1,250 acres.
The company says the two involved landowners under option contracts are both county residents.
The company says the proposed project would contribute between $5.4 and $7.2 million to the county tax base over 40 years and cause “over 100 direct jobs during construction and a handful of permanent jobs.”
The proposed project would not be allowed under the county’s current solar ordinance which limits solar projects to 100 acres of panels.
Cypress Creek Renewable is proposing a text amendment to the county’s ordinance that would allow for larger projects.
If an amendment is approved, the company would also have to rezone the involved land and receive a special-use permit to operate the solar panels.
Also on the commissioners’ agenda is an update on the proposed renovations to the county auditorium.
The commissioners have used the auditorium as their primary meeting space and allocated $120,000 in the current county budget for improvements to the auditorium.
According to the agenda, the proposed renovations would include the installation of sheetrock walls, a new drop ceiling with LED lights, converting the stage to a conference room with windows overlooking the auditorium and converting a storage room to an IT room.
The improvements would include modular furniture for the commissioners and county staff.
The proposed arrangement would be semi-permanent and allow for disassembly and removal for events that require the full auditorium.
The improvements are estimated to cost $150,000, $30,000 more than budgeted.
The commissioners’ agenda also includes a discussion on formalizing the board’s rules and procedures for the informal public comment period in each meeting.
Under state law, the commissioners are required to provide at least one period of public comment each month.
The board currently allocates 10 minutes at each of its two monthly meetings for informal comments.
The proposed rules and procedures would codify several things the commissioners currently do, like asking speakers to register with the Clerk to the Board before the meeting, addressing the entire board instead of one member and noting that there will not be an immediate, direct response from the commissioners to the speakers.
The list of rules and procedures adds two new items.
Under the proposed list, speakers would no longer be allowed to yield their allotted time to another speaker and if the 10 minutes expire before all registered citizens have spoken, the remaining speakers would carry over to the commissioners’ next meeting rather than speaking at the meeting they signed up at.
The proposed rules state that the commissioners would be able to extend the comment period as they see fit.
After initially hearing the item last summer, the commissioner will revisit discussion on the proposed “Charters of Freedom” replicas of the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.
The commissioners initially heard the proposal last July and decided the best place for the proposed bronze replicas would be Huck Sansbury Park.
Among items slated for discussion Monday, the commissioners are asked to give final approval for the location of the replicas, determine their desired landscaping and hardscaping for the area and identifying funding for the proposed $34,000-$44,000 project.
Other items on the commissioners’ agenda are an update on the county’s planning and zoning, inspections and permitting timeline and a public hearing on the county’s proposed fire ordinance which outlines and authorizes the duties of the Fire Marshal’s Office and explains procedures for enforcement of fire codes, inspection frequency, civil penalties, false fire alarms, open burning, permits, Knox Boxes and response to hazardous materials incidents.
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