At its August 2 meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved a measure that paves the way for Enka High School to install solar panels on its roof. The motion was necessary because in order for the Buncombe County Board of Education to lease the roof for a potential solar installation, Commissioners first had to determine that the property would not be otherwise needed by the county for the duration of the expected 20-year lease.
Enka can now move forward with plans to install both photovoltaic and solar water heating systems on the roof beginning in September. In May, the Board of Education issued a request for proposals from solar developers, and held a pre-proposal meeting at the school site with prospective developers. Applications from various developers are being reviewed, and construction on the project is slated to begin next month.
Under the proposal, Enka will lease its roof space to a solar developer who will then claim the state and federal tax credits associated with the system. This arrangement means that no out-of-pocket money will be required from the county school system to pay for the solar system. After six years, the education board will have the option to purchase the system outright.
Also at the meeting, Commissioners:
• heard the county’s annual Tax Settlement Report. The county has collected 98.67 percent of all taxes for the previous fiscal year, which ended June 30. In total, Buncombe County collected a little better than $151 million in tax revenue with around $1.6 million still uncollected. The percentage of taxes collected is near the average for the county going back to 2004, and 1.5 percent higher than the state average.
• unanimously approved a rezoning request for a 5.2 acre parcel on Old U.S. 70 west of the intersection of Cavalier Lane from R-3 (residential district) to NS (Neighborhood Service District). The property does currently conform to its zoning designation, as it contains the Carolina Ready Mix concrete company, which builds formed concrete walls. Staff says the rezoning will make the property “less non-conforming.”
• unanimously passed a $1.67 million secondary-roads construction program. Under the plan, the county will pave about 2.6 miles of currently unpaved secondary roads.
• unanimously reappointed Capi Wampler and Joseph Carvey to the Historic Resources Commission, and reappointed Ron Morin to the Tourism Redevlopment Authority.