This week in county government; Solar facility proposed near Town of Mineral; Roundup of recent board appointments
Engage Louisa is a community newsletter aimed at keeping folks informed about Louisa County government. It’s free, non-partisan, and powered by volunteers. We believe our community is stronger and our government serves us better when we increase transparency, accessibility, and engagement.
This week in county government: public meetings, August 30-September 4
Wednesday, September 1
Louisa County Broadband Authority, Public Meeting Room, Louisa County Administration Building, 1 Woolfolk Ave., Louisa, 7 pm. (public notice)
The Louisa County Broadband Authority will convene its first meeting since March. At publication time, an agenda was not publicly available.
Thursday, September 2
Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, Virtual Meeting, 7 pm. (meeting materials) A zoom link is available in the meeting materials.
The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission will gather for its September meeting on Thursday night with several items of interest on the agenda.
The commission will hold a public hearing on the draft HOME Investment Partnership Program Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER). The HOME program provides annual funding via HUD for housing rehabilitation, down-payment assistance, and new construction for qualifying households in the Thomas Jefferson Planning District. The CAPER provides a detailed summary of the program’s goals at the outset of the year and its accomplishments at year’s end.
The TJPDC administers the HOME program, partnering with housing organizations in each locality. The Fluvanna/Louisa Housing Foundation receives Louisa County’s HOME funding.
Commissioners will hear an overview of TJPDC’s draft FY23 Projected Operating Budget and Local Revenue Requests. According to the meeting materials, TJPDC plans to request just over $50,000 from Louisa County in FY23, an increase of more than $7,000 from its FY22 allocation. TJPDC administers a number of programs focused on transportation, housing, and other aspects of regional planning, and provides legislative guidance and assistance to its member localities.
In her Interim Executive Director’s Monthly Report, Christine Jacobs will brief commissioners on a handful of topics including preparations for the 2022 General Assembly session, an update on an affordable housing grant received from Virginia Housing, and an update on the Zion Crossroads Small Area Study.
Jacobs notes in her report that TJPDC is developing its regional legislative program for 2022. Staff plans to meet with officials in member localities in September to discuss priorities.
TJPDC staff held an orientation meeting with Virginia Housing on the $2 million affordable housing grant awarded earlier this summer, according to Jacob’s report. Staff will continue to meet with Virginia Housing to develop the program and identify partners to create new affordable housing units in the region.
The report also notes that progress continues on the Zion Crossroads Small Area Plan, a joint effort between Louisa and Fluvanna counties to develop a unified vision for the development of the Zion Crossroads area. With heavy involvement from VDOT, the planning process includes developing solutions to improving traffic safety and flow in the area, identifying opportunities for future development, and establishing a unique sense of identity.
Specifically, TJPDC staff is working with Fluvanna County to incorporate recommendations developed as part of the planning process into its Comprehensive Plan update. TJPDC staff will continue to work with VDOT and county staff to develop public engagement opportunities later in the fall, according to the report.
Additional information about Louisa County’s upcoming public meetings is available here.
Interested in taking your talents to one of the county’s numerous boards and commissions? Find out more here, including which boards have vacancies and how to apply.
Solar facility proposed near Town of Mineral
The Louisa County Board of Supervisors have approved five utility-scale solar facilities to date. Now, a sixth could be on the horizon.
Aura Power Developments LLC applied for a Conditional Use Permit last week to construct up to a 94 MW solar project within 445 acres near the Town of Mineral, according to a public notice in The Central Virginian. The property is owned by Charles Purcell via Mine and Hemmer LLC.
The site (tax map parcel 43-4) is located east of Chopping Road (Route 623) behind Hidden Farms Estates, west of Zachary Taylor Highway (Route 522), and north of the CSX railroad line in the Mineral Voting District. Much of the property is zoned agricultural (A-2) but a portion falls into residential (R-2) zoning, according to county GIS. The site is accessed by Old County Road (Route 746). At publication time, a land use application for the Conditional Use Permit was not publicly available on Louisa County’s website.
The applicant will host a neighborhood meeting to provide more details and answer questions about the project on Wednesday, September 8, from 4 to 6 pm in the Public Meeting Room at the County Administration Building.
Aura already has one solar facility approved in the county: a yet-to be constructed 244 MW array on roughly 1400 acres owned by Purcell and his son, Louisa District Supervisor Eric Purcell, via Fisher Chewning LLC. The Board of Supervisors okayed that project, which stretches from just south of Davis Highway (Route 22) to the county’s reservoir, last August in a 6-0 vote. Purcell recused himself from considering the CUP request.
Central Louisa County, between the towns of Louisa and Mineral, has become a hotbed for solar development. The area is already home to Dominion’s 20 MW Whitehouse facility and, in early August, supervisors approved Energix Aditya LLC’s 11 MW project off School Bus Road (Route 767).
The board will hold a public hearing at its September 7 meeting to consider the Louisa County Industrial Development Authority’s request for a proffer amendment that would clear the way for Two Oaks Solar LLC to request a Conditional Use Permit to construct a solar facility at the Cooke Rail Park. The 800-acre park, which the IDA purchased in 2014, is located north of Davis Highway (Route 22) between Chalklevel Road (Route 625) and Chopping Road (Route 623).
Large scale solar developments have surged in Virginia since the General Assembly passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act in 2020. The legislation requires that Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power produce electricity from 100 percent carbon-free sources by 2045 and 2050 respectively. The legislature passed several other laws in the 2020 and 2021 sessions that enable localities to derive increased revenue from utility-scale solar facilities.
Louisa County is particularly attractive to solar developers because of its proximity to numerous high-voltage transmission lines, friendly topography, and the availability of large tracts of land.
Roundup of recent appointments to county boards and committees
The Louisa County Board of Supervisors appoints citizens and county officials to several dozen boards and committees, which inform policy decisions and oversee the operation of publicly-funded institutions, among other duties. These boards and committees often garner little attention but play a key role in local government administration. Below is a roundup of the board’s appointments from mid-May through early August. For a list of board appointments from earlier this year, click here.
The board appointed Bo Bundrick to the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Board.
The board appointed Alayna Whitlock to the at-Large position on the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Advisory Committee.
The board appointed Gloria Pope to the Commission on Aging to represent the Patrick Henry District.
The board appointed Frank Grosch to the Jefferson Area Board for Aging Board of Directors.
Click here for contact information for the Louisa County Board of Supervisors.
Find agendas and minutes from previous meetings as well as archived recordings here.
Click here for contact information for the Louisa County School Board.
Click here for minutes and agendas for school board meetings.