In a spate of several actions Tuesday, the Henry County Board of Supervisors agreed to dissolve the Southern Virginia Recreation Facilities Authority and approved an amendment that will limit the total amount of acreage that can be permitted for solar farm development to one percent of the total land mass of the county.
The amendment to the county’s existing zoning ordinance was passed in a 5-1 vote, with Iriswood Supervisor Garrett Dillard opposing the change.
The county has about 382 square miles of land mass. The one percent cap will limit the total acreage allowed for solar coverage to 2,445 acres. There are currently 10 approved solar projects that span approximately 1,807 acres. Only one of those projects has been completed and is generating electricity. Another is currently under construction.
Before the vote on the change to the solar ordinance, the board amended its Comprehensive Plan to incorporate the long-range vision for renewable energy in the county. The cap is in addition to existing restrictions on solar development such as the 2.5 percent density requirement.
In other matters, the board:
*Approved the items of consent.
*Approved a resolution honoring Martinsville City Manager Leon Towarnicki for 41 years of service. He is retiring on July 31.
*Approved a resolution honoring Hilda Mabry, who is retiring from the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
*Heard an update from Piedmont Community Services (PCS).
*Heard the monthly report on delinquent tax collection efforts.
*Heard an update on the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.
*Approved the commitment statements of the Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District for improvements to the Leatherwood 2A and #3 dams.
*Conducted a public hearing and approved a request to rezone approximately 2.36 acres of the Reed Creek District from Suburban Residential District to Commercial District for a commercial landscaping sales establishment.
*Appointed Donata Worrell to the Blue Ridge Regional Library Board for a four-year term scheduled to end on June 30, 2027.
*Appointed Jonathan Martin to the Community Policy and Management Team for a two-year term scheduled to end on June 30, 2025.
*Reappointed Michael Ward to the Roanoke River Basin Association for a one-year term scheduled to end on June 30, 2024.
*Heard an update on highway projects from Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) resident engineer Lisa Price-Hughes.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $28,237,705 received through grants from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Site Readiness Program and the Harvest Foundation to assist with site work on Lot #2 at Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $10,000 to provide matching funds for a grant received from the Virginia Opioid Abatement Authority to study and identify community-based options for the most effective long-term use of funds for abatement.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $240,000 to cover overages related to the Children’s Services Act Program.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $95,000 received through a grant from the Harvest Foundation and awarded a contract to the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s Partnership for Economic Growth to conduct an economic impact study related to the Martinsville Southern Connector route.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $50,000 received through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to assess specific community needs related to housing and related infrastructure.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $10,000 received through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to execute the United Way Individual Development Accounts Planning Grant which will provide for free training to residents on topics related to financial management.
*Awarded a contract to Fidelity Power Systems in the amount of $235,710 for the relocation of the generator providing power to the 911 Center from the former jail to behind the administration building.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $55,423 received from the Virginia Department of Health’s Return to Locality Funds.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $15,000 from State Asset Forfeiture funds to cover travel-related expenses for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
*Approved a resolution to update the signature authority for the Adult Detention Center inmate fund.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $7,200 from State Asset Forfeiture funds to cover the cost of sending two investigators from the Sheriff’s Office to Cellebrite certification training.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $219,679 from the Virginia Department of Education to provide additional revenue to Henry County Public Schools as the result of recalculations performed by the state using the actual average daily membership totals for all school divisions.
*Approved an amendment to the Henry County Public School’s fiscal year 2024 operating budget totaling $1,666,062 to reflect an estimated reduction in state funds.