The residents of the Country Club Estates community are totally opposed to the solar farm project which would cover 25 acres of land and include more than 8,000 panels within walking distance of their front doors. Albany City Commissioners denied the solar farm project earlier this summer that was later approved by the Zoning board. Another full commission vote is scheduled for August 27, 2019.
This is too close for some residents who fear a dramatic increase in traffic, while others are concerned for wildlife that would be impacted by the construction. In an interview with WALB, Jasmine Williams said she feared her quiet neighborhood would change when she saw the proposal for a solar farm that would be steps from her home. “You don’t want all that traffic coming into this quiet neighborhood. This is a residential area and I would want that in a commercial area .”
Others have expressed support for the solar farm project in the area as long as it is handled correctly or “done right.” Some have suggested this project be considered in another part of Albany with a smaller residential population.
A major glitch in the proposal was a city ordinance that stated a solar farm in a two-mile radius of the airport would have to be reviewed by the FAA and prove no interference with airport operations. According to one resident, Country Club Estates is not two miles from the airport.
Solar farms (sometimes known as solar parks or solar fields) are the large-scale application of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate green, clean electricity at scale, usually to feed into the grid. Solar farms can cover anything between 1 acre and 100 acres and are usually developed in rural areas.
The sentiment of some members of the County Club Estates Homeowners Association are that, this project will not add any value to homeowners while adding value to the people who own the companies. Joyce Hardy, a Homeowners Association member mentioned the reasons she opposes the project include, “there are no benefits to our community. This project will decrease our property values while the vegetation, wildlife, animals, bugs and creatures will increase. The barbwire fences will imprison our neighborhood and give us a prison-like atmosphere. We are a viable community and contribute greatly to the City of Albany. This project shows a lack of concern for our neighborhood as a whole.”
The solar farm debate in Albany is far from over. The Country Club Estates community and the West Town community are strongly against the solar farm being located next door and in their backyards. All concerned citizens of Albany are encouraged to attend the commission meeting on August 27th and voice your opposition to this proposal.
Sources: https://www.walb.com, https://www.npr.org, https://sciencing.com .