The County Planning Office website lists four industrial solar projects that have applied to build under the 2022 amended zoning ordinance. The Blake project was the first project to receive a conditional use permit (in July 2022) and so far it’s the only industrial solar project to start construction in Jefferson County. The Blake project site straddles the intersection of Old Charles Town Road (Route 115) and Kabletown Road, encompassing roughly 500 acres to the east of downtown Charles Town.
The site was active farmland until 2022. According to the county land records, the entire 500+ acre site has been sold to Horus West Virginia 1 LLC (a Delaware corporation set up by the developer). The concept plan shows that the solar facility will cover the entire site. Local farmers who spoke with The Observer described what they saw as “mass grading” that removed the topsoil from the site last year. The results of this soil disturbance are visible after each rainstorm, when sediment covers the nearby roads and flows into the Shenandoah River via Evitts run.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP) website list multiple violation notices for the project. The first violation notice is from May 2023. Not all of the evaluations and notices have been posted to thw WV DEP website.
Photos from the recent rain storm on January 28 2024 indicate that sediment-laden runoff continues to be discharged from the project site and flow into Evitts Run and the Shenandoah River (images above & video links below).
- Runoff from Blake industrial solar project (Jan 28 2024)
- Evitts Run flowing into Shenandoah River (Jan 28 2024)
- Shenandoah River downstream of Evitts Run (Jan 28 2024)