OPALCO’s solar panel project review is ongoing.

By Oliver Townsend Jun 1, 2024
OPALCO solar panel project still under review.jpegOrginal image from: https://www.islandssounder.com/news/opalco-solar-panel-project-still-under-review/

San Juan County’s Department of Community Development is currently in the process of reviewing OPALCO’s application for a conditional use permit. The review has been paused to allow for additional information to be provided by OPALCO. The deadline for this additional information is set for July 28, following a request made by the county on March 28, 2024. The requests were further discussed in meetings between OPALCO and DCD staff in April.

Requests for Additional Information

The County’s request made on March 28 was a revision of an earlier request from February 29. This revision was based on SEPA review notes, public comments, and a third-party critical area review of the application’s critical area document. The requests included a response to deficiencies in the critical area documentation, a revised project narrative, and addressing SEPA review notes regarding potential impacts to wetlands, agricultural resource lands, and visual impacts.

Meetings with DCD Staff

OPALCO, now represented by Van Ness Feldman, LLP, sought clarification on the requests made in March through meetings with DCD staff. Two separate meetings were held in April to discuss various aspects of the requests. A summary of these meetings was shared via email on April 24, 2024.

Expected Hearing Date

OPALCO has until July 28 to submit the requested information for review. Once received, DCD staff will assess the materials to determine if they are sufficient for continued processing. If deemed sufficient, the SEPA review and general land use review will continue to make a SEPA determination, establish deadlines for SEPA comments, and set an expected date for a Hearing Examiner Meeting. Public access to the application materials and written comments are ongoing.

Hearing Examiner Date

The exact date for the Hearing Examiner Meeting is yet to be determined. Any updates or changes to the schedule will be communicated through appropriate channels and newspapers. Interested parties can view the Hearing Examiner agendas, including live web-streaming links, via the online Agenda Center once published.

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