Letter to the editor

Opposed to solar field on Scenic 40 & Woodmont Road

Dear Editor:
I am opposed to solar fields in rural landscapes…specificially, the one being proposed for Scenic 40 and Woodmont Road, which is where I am a lifelong resident and also am a neighboring property owner.

Westernport Properties/Hancock MD #1 Solar LLC/Ameresco, all out-of-state affiliated companies, have filed for a Zoning Appeal Special Exception that would allow them to put an ugly, disturbing 11.89 acres of a Solar Energy Generating System (SEGS) filled with solar panels. This location is currently a farm field zoned EC (Environmental Conservation) with a “Prime Agricultural” soil classification designated by the Wash. Co. Planning & Zoning Department’s Comprehensive Zoning process.

In my opinion, the companies are being very deceptive in their description of their appeal to achieve their special exception. They say the SEGS will have no visual impacts on any neighboring properties or roads, which include Scenic 40 (also known as the Historic National Freeway) and Woodmont Road (a direct and heavily travelled access to the Western Maryland Rail Trail System). Their SEGS has the same effect as a large commercial building. Not only will adjoining property owners forever be affected by this repulsive view shed, so will those travelling these adjacent roads.

When the companies’ representative told the Zoning & Planning Department they were going to hold a Town Hall meeting to share info and get feedback, they were advised to hold it in Hancock and advertise it in our local newspaper, The Hancock News. They were also told to do so by the Hancock town office when they reserved the room. They chose not to do so, but instead sent out 12 letters to adjoining property owners. In my opinion, they are not really looking for community input but want to give the impression they did.

If you care about the landscape of Hancock and its surrounding area, join me to oppose this SEGS at both of the following crucial meetings:

1. The Town Hall meeting this Wednesday, November 9 at 6:30 p.m. Hancock Town Hall, 126 West Main Street, Hancock, Md.

2. The Zoning Appeal Hearing for a Special Exception is: next Wednesday, November 16 at 6 p.m. County Commissioners Bldg., 100 West Washington Street, 2nd Floor, Public Meeting Room 2000, Hagerstown, Md.

In addition to attending the hearings, send a letter, by email, of opposition referencing “AP2022-045 Solar Energy Generating System at Scenic 40 & Woodmont Road,” to: Katie Rathvon, Zoning Coordinator, Division of Planning & Zoning, 747 Northern Avenue, Hagerstown, MD 21742. Phone 240-313-2464. [email protected].

Rick Wills