The Adelaide Hills Council’s Assessment Panel (CAP) have approved a 4.9MW Solar Farm which will cover thirteen hectares of the 51 hectare site.
This is the first farm of its kind in the Adelaide Hills and is planned to be built at the intersection of Warren and Torrens Valley Roads, Birdwood.
The application was publicly notified and in response 80 people provided feedback on the application. Ten of these respondents presented to the Panel on behalf of eighteen people. The majority of the respondents are local residents.
CAP’s decision was unanimous in support of the proposal and members of the Panel articulated their reasons for doing so at the meeting, and acknowledged the value of hearing the representations provided.
“The Panel stated that it was good to hear from the local residents who they appreciated may not agree with the outcome. However, the value of people raising their concerns should not be underestimated as it resulted in the proposal being modified by Tetris Energy to address the concerns raised,” said Marc Salver, Director Development & Regulatory Services.
As a result of the submissions received, Tetris Energy (the applicant) amended its proposal to reduce the height of the ground mounted solar arrays from 4.65m to 2.9m, increased the amount of landscaping along the boundary of the property and provided a 100m buffer along Torrens Valley
Road. These changes were made to address the visual impact concerns raised by residents.
As a non-complying application, the representors have appeal rights against the Panel’s decision, and should they wish to, they can lodge the appeal with the Environment, Resources and Development Court. The Independent Presiding Member of the Panel made members of the gallery aware of this option.
“In circumstances such as this where there is a large amount of concern expressed about a development proposal, it should be acknowledged that the Panel assesses an application on its merits when considering the legislative requirements and Council’s Development Plan principles,” said Mr Salver.
If the proposal goes ahead, Council will ensure that the development is constructed in accordance with the approved plans, including the planting of the landscaping to ensure that the visual impacts are mitigated.