Final decision on Dover solar farm delayed amid opposition

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

After another lengthy meeting, a final decision on the planned solar project in Dover Township has again been delayed.

The project drew significant pushback from neighbors, who oppose a special use exemption to transform 700 acres of agricultural land into a solar farm. That exemption will next be considered at a zoning board meeting on March 16.

According to Enel, the developer, the project would generate 75 megawatts of solar energy, enough to power 12,000 homes a year and prevent 80,000 tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions.

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"We’ll be back at the next scheduled meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board in March to continue this dialogue with the Dover community," project manager Brittany Staszak said via email, "sharing our vision for new investment in Dover, answering any questions, and listening and responding to concerns."

Now, the project will be heard again at 7 p.m. March 16 at Dover Area Middle School, 46 W. Canal St.

That meeting will be the fourth time the zoning board has discussed the solar project. A hearing on Dec. 16 was continued after residents spoke against the project, and two other meetings have been held on the project in January and February.

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If the special use exemption is approved, the project would then need approval for its land development plan by the Dover Township Planning Commission. Unlike the current conceptual plan before the zoning board, that plan would have more specifics about the design of the solar project.

If approved, the solar project would be completed and running by late 2023, Staszak said. That's also when a similar 550-acre solar project in North Codorus Township would be completed.

Map of the location of Enel's proposed Dover Solar Project.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.