There are only a few obvious changes between the picture above (taken in 2020) and the same scene from May of this year on the cover of the June 2023 issue (below). No doubt this view to the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond the red barn has been pretty much the same for many decades.
But change is coming. Long before either of these photos were taken, nearby fields had already been approved for the Breckenridge East subdivision, roughly one thousand homes. That long-dormant plan was recently replaced with a different plan: the Jefferson County Planning Commission voted in May to approve a concept plan submitted by Enel North America to construct a 125 megawatt solar facility on 660 acres. Local residents who commented at the Planning Commission meeting expressed concerns about the transformation, particularly the effect on adjacent residences, but the recently amended zoning ordinance allows this solar project as a principal permitted use in the residential growth zone — as long as the project conforms to the zoning requirements, it’s a “by right” development, just like a housing development.
A lot of the articles in the June 2023 issue touch on change (we didn’t plan it that way, it just happened — a sign of the times). Some of these stories are more complex than others and we’ll be posting more material on our website for several of them (sign up for our email newsletter if you want to get highlights as we follow these issues). And if you want to speak up and give your suggestions to the team working on updating the County’s Comprehensive Plan, come to the public input session on June 5 at Jefferson High School. It’s a choice — speak up or sit back and enjoy the view (while it’s still there).By Steve Pearson