Fayette County News

Fayette County


Camp Southern Ground sets sights on solar power

Camp Southern Ground, with its mission to be a summer camp to help children overcome academic, social, and emotional difficulties, is getting closer to a more eco-friendly reality. At Thursday night’s Board of Commissioners meeting, approval was given for an ordinance change that could clear the way to power the camp via solar energy.
Camp Southern Ground, founded by Grammy Award-winning singer Zac Brown, is laying the groundwork to build an eight-acre solar farm to power the camp. The aim is for the camp to be powered entirely through solar power. The camp would still be hooked up to the power grid, and any surplus power the camp produces would go into the grid, allowing the camp to receive credit for what it puts in.
The ordinance change will only affect properties zoned under Planned Unit Development-Planned Retreat and Lodge (PUD-PRL) and not impact any other zoning categories. The change should have limited reach as there are only two plots currently zoned PUD-PRL in Fayette County, Camp Southern Ground and a Christian retreat on McBride Road. That particular plot was initiated in the mid-1980s and has only seen its residential portion developed to date. Previously, solar farms were only allowed in an M-1 zoning district.
Though the commissioners approved the ordinance change, the camp will still have much work to do to get the solar farm approved. Because of the nature of the PUD-PRL zoning, the board will have to give final approval on the location of the solar panels within the camp before anything can be installed. That eased some concerns that the camp could put the panels too close to their neighbors.
The ordinance change was approved unanimously with the addition from Commissioner Steve Brown that, should the equipment become inoperable, it must be removed by the property owners.

By Christopher Dunn

Managing Editor Christopher Dunn has been with the Fayette County News since 2011, in addition to running Fayette Victory magazine. He is a graduate of Fayette County schools, as well as a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism. Follow him on twitter @fayettesports.