The text amendment to allow solar onto agriculture land was the topic of discussion during the regular meeting of the Harrodsburg Mercer County Industrial Authority Board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
“If this text amendment is voted down, we are essentially saying no to all solar in Mercer County,” said Mercer County Judge Executive Milward Dedman. “Unfortunately, I think a lot of people believe this vote is about the specific project and it is not.”
The Mercer County Fiscal Court is set to have their first reading of the amendment on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 10 a.m.
“We are allowing three minute comments during this first reading,” said Dedman. “If we don’t pass it, we will fall behind because most of your major businesses have goals of going solar.”
Dedman said he was not in support or against the proposed solar project, which would be located on US 127.
“The actual case-by-case decisions are not made by the fiscal court, it is made by the board of adjustments,” said Dedman. “I am not promoting this project. I am promoting the text amendment.”
Harrodsburg Mayor Art Freeman agreed with Dedman, saying he felt that solar was the wave of the future.
“I have no personal relationship with anyone involved with the project, I just think we need to start moving forward,” said Freeman. “The younger generation is going green. The world is changing and we need to get on that train because it is moving with or without us.”
In other business, The Harrodsburg Mercer County Industrial Authority:
• Approved The financial report, which has a $3,000 shortfall due to the city being unable to raise their contribution.
“It has been a tough year for all of us,” said Freeman.
Mike Willand, executive director of the industrial development authority, noted that the raise in contribution was requested before COVID-19 hit.
• Discussed the area’s need for more residential housing.
“It is important to have housing available for those who wish to locate their businesses in Mercer County,” said Willand. “I am not sure what is going on but there doesn’t seem to be housing available for rent or to buy.”
Mayor Freeman said there are plans for a chiropractic school to locate in Mercer County in 2021 and he was also concerned about the availability of housing.
“We have people walking door-to-door on Beaumont Avenue offering to purchase houses,” said Freeman. “The cost of building has increased and the houses are being bought before they are even finished building them.”
• Learned Hitachi was ranked in the top 50 most innovative companies by Visual Capitalist for 2020.
• Were provided with research on the re-shoring of companies due to the COVID-19 crisis. With American companies pulling operations back to the US, Willand said more opportunities for large businesses to relocate to Kentucky are available.
The Harrodsburg Mercer County Industrial Authority’s next scheduled meeting is in November.