Zac Brown’s Camp Southern Ground seeks solar farm permit

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The Fayette County Board of Commissioners paved the way last month for the possible installation of a solar farm at Camp Southern Ground.

The children’s camp developed by musician Zac Brown sits on about 300 acres, according to county officials, who presented to the board a proposed ordinance amendment affecting requirements in the Planned Unit Development/Planned Retreat and Lodge category.

Representatives of the camp approached county staff regarding an eight-acre solar farm to power the camp. Solar farms were only allowed in the M-1 zoning district, which prompted staff to seek the change.

A solar farm is defined in the county’s ordinances as any lot where more than three ground-mounted solar panels exceeding 200 cumulative square feet, or where more than 900 cumulative square feet of ground-mounted solar panels, are located.

The request was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission as well as county staff.

The solar panel company that presented the idea to the county hopes to run the camp’s power the majority of the time with solar panels but will only serve the camp. Unused power can be placed into the grid so that the camp can get a credit for later use when needed.

“Their goal is to run off their solar array to the greatest degree possible,” said Frisina.

The request was approved with the stipulation that any inoperable equipment relating to the solar farm be repaired or removed within the same timeframe as is now in place for cell towers in the county.

Frisina pointed out that Camp Southern Ground, along with any subsequent applicants, will still have to come before the board with a specific request after the new guidelines were approved.