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Zoning board votes down 780-acre solar farm in west Bibb County

In a packed room Monday, dozens of neighbors again told commissioners it was not a good fit for their neighborhood.

MACON, Ga. — Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning commissioners voted down a plan for a solar farm in west Bibb County at their Monday meeting.

Cubico Sustainable Investments wanted to build a 780-acre solar field on Hartley Bridge Road, but neighbors blocked it in April. Then, the zoning board voted to give Cubico some more time to work with neighbors. A month later, those neighbors say they haven't heard anything. So, they came to Monday's meeting prepared to speak with John Golitz, who represented Cubico.

In a packed room at Terminal Station, dozens of neighbors spoke again telling commissioners it was not a good fit for their neighborhood.

Shelley Wade’s lived on Marcar Road for 34 years and started a petition against the plan. Over 80 of her neighbors signed it, worried about declining property values, safety and noise from construction.

"First thing we thought about was our property values, and so we decided that we would get a petition up, and we would go door-to-door,” said Wade. “We could find no one that wanted a solar farm connected to their property."

Sharon Spencer lives with her aunt on Hartley Bridge Road and also came prepared to speak against the farm.

“Even though I haven't lived there for 30 years, we have been going there for 35, 40 years to have our Thanksgiving meals and our whole family comes there. It would disrupt the area,” said Spencer.

Spencer was there representing her aunt, Frieda, who has lived in the neighborhood for years.

"I'm excited. I'm happy. It's a relief. Because she was really upset. She's 87 years old and she was like, 'You will go down there and take my place and and fight for it,'" said Spencer.

Golitz told the board they were not ready to move forward and asked for more time. 

The board said they support renewable energy but agreed unanimously the west Bibb neighborhood wasn’t the right fit.

Cubico said they have other places in mind that wouldn’t require rezoning. They did not give further details.

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