Dover solar farm project to be considered — again — Wednesday night

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

Will the sixth time be the charm for the Dover solar project?

For months, Dover Township's zoning hearing board has considered a solar project pitched by Enel Green Power.

Enel says the proposed solar farm will generate enough electricity to power approximately 12,000 homes per year. Detractors argue the loss of approximately 700 acres of farmland is too great and would disrupt the local environment.

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Keep Dover Beautiful, a newly formed group that opposes the solar farm, said the project threatens property values and the beauty of the farmland. It hired an attorney to represent members' interests at the public meetings.

"The aesthetic beauty of prime farmland and residential property values are all threatened by this project," the group said in a written statement. "Dover Solar I industrial solar farm and other solar farms in the surrounding area threaten agricultural lands that are essential for feeding wildlife and contributing supporting food for American consumption."

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

Several zoning board members did not respond to requests for comment.

Enel Green Power — which already has an approved solar project in North Codorus Township that  is set to be completed in late 2023 — previously obtained easements from 11 landowners  in Dover Township.

"We remain confident in the case we have maintained over these several months of hearings: the Dover Solar Project meets all applicable township ordinance requirements and will have a long-term positive impact for the local community," project manager Brittany Staszak said.

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The solar company is attempting to obtain a special use exemption from the zoning board. If approved, the company 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  specifics about the design of the solar project.

The project first came before the zoning hearing board in November 2021 but was quickly continued to the next meeting due to the "incredible amount of people in attendance," according to meeting minutes.

Since December of last year, the solar project has been the only item on the agenda and meetings were held at the Dover Area Middle School because of the number of people who wanted to sound off on the issue.

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Wednesday's meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at Dover Area Middle School, 46 W. Canal St. 

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