New Hope Baptist Church property annexed by Sanford

Mar. 20, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

City Council voted unanimously to annex nearly six acres, owned by New Hope Baptist Church, on Beechtree Drive Tuesday night.  

Sanford City Council also held public hearings to rezone a portion of the New Hope Baptist Church's property and to rezone property for a potential solar farm on Washington Avenue during the board's Tuesday meeting at the Sanford Municipal Center.

New Hope Pastor Brian Parker spoke in favor of the annexation and the rezoning of the church property and said he's hoping to open the church during the second week of April. 

Parker asked for 1.53 acres of the property to be rezoned from highway commercial to general commercial so the entire 5.5 acres will be uniform. No one spoke against the church's rezoning proposal. 

As for the proposed solar farm at the corner of Washington Avenue and Garden Street, Sanford Solar LLC requested a conditional zoning district to place solar panels on the 11 acres near Horton Park. 

The location was chosen because of its proximity to a Progress Energy substation, said the project's developer, Chris Killenberg, and the group would sell the electricity to Progress Energy. The property is owned by Brick Capital, and the lease by the solar farm would provide a long-term source of income, he said. 

The amount of electricity expected to be generated from the proposed solar farm would be equal to the annual consumption of 300 to 350 homes per year, Killenberg said. 

"The park was actually a plus for me," he said. "I like the idea of families and children seeing a solar farm, understanding what it is and getting a sense of its importance."

Among the proposed requirements of the special zoning condition would be fencing and buffering of the farm from residential areas, removal of any facilities that may have been abandoned, and the solar structures would not exceed 20 feet in height. 

No one spoke against the proposed solar farm and no action was taken on the two rezoning public hearings.