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About a week after the Culpeper County Planning Commission recommended that Maroon Solar's application to construct a 1,000-acre solar farm off Raccoon Ford Road be denied, the company pulled its application seeking a permit for the project. 

Company representatives declined to say why the application was pulled. In Maroon Solar’s letter of withdrawal, attorney John Foote states that the company appreciates the time county has staff has dedicated to the project and “we anticipate being in contact with you further about this project.”

County Administrator John Egertson noted that Maroon Solar can re-apply for the project at any time “but it will be treated as a brand new application, starting from square one, if they do decide to reapply.”

Maroon Solar, a subsidy of the North Carolina-based Strata Solar, hoped to construct a 149-megawatt solar project located near Raccoon Ford Road. The firm’s plans called for the installation of solar panels on about 960 of the site’s 1,700 acres.

Reasons the planners recommended denial of the permit included the proposed size of the solar farm and that the project does not fall in line with the county’s comprehensive plan. With county guidelines stating that solar farms should not exceed 300 acres, the proposal more than quintupled that land-use policy.

Shortly after the commission recommended denial, Strata Solar developer Louis Iannone said the company was disappointed and “we heard their comments and are working hard to address the issues raised. We continue to believe our proposed solar project is good for Culpeper County.”

Had the application not been pulled, the Board of Supervisors would have considered the request.

To even have a chance for the Planning Commission to recommend approval, Planning Director Sam McLearen said that Maroon Solar would have to reduce the size and scale of the project. Other concerns, he said, included stormwater erosion, the impact of construction on nearby roads and potential noise associated with blasting work.

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