Carroll County Times
Carroll County News

Public hearing on proposed six-month solar moratorium in Carroll is set for Feb. 23

Residents will have another opportunity to tell the Carroll Board of County Commissioners if they oppose or favor a proposed six-month moratorium on construction of solar facilities on agricultural land.

The commissioners will hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance at 6 p.m., Feb. 23, in Room 003 (the Reagan Room) in the Carroll County office building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster.


This will be the first official public hearing on the ordinance.


On Jan. 19, commissioners voted to direct the county attorney to draft an ordinance for a six-month ban on the construction of solar panels on agricultural land. The decision came after several residents spoke about their opposition to having solar panels on agricultural land near their homes.

On Jan. 26, a three-page ordinance establishing a six-month moratorium on reviewing, processing and permitting community solar facilities on county property zoned for agriculture was presented to commissioners. After reviewing the ordinance and hearing from a number of speakers opposed to or in support of the ordinance, commissioners voted to hold a public hearing before making a decision. .

At the Jan. 26 meeting, Mark Hamilton of Fannie Dorsey Road in Sykesville, a 38-year county resident, was among the moratorium’s supporters. He said a solar farm is proposed on agricultural land near his home.

“It just isn’t something that the people in a residential area want, when they’re bordering an agricultural area,” he told commissioners. “It just isn’t an ideal situation.”

Those against the moratorium said farmers who placed the panels on some portion of their land are trying to preserve it for future generations by earning some money from it.

Christopher Heyn, director of the county’s Department of Land & Resource Management, said at the Jan. 19 meeting there are 10 planned solar farms in development review. Four of those are on industrial property.

Heyn suggested then that those should continue going through the review process, since they will be located on industrial property, and said this proposed moratorium would affect five of the 10 that would be on agricultural land.


In 2021, the former Board of Commissioners adopted a Community Solar Zoning Text Amendment to the county’s solar code that allows solar energy farms on certain portions of land zoned agricultural. The solar panels can only be placed on 20 acres of those parcels. After the community solar panels have been constructed, the remaining property goes into a permanent conservation district. This was done to prevent expansion of the solar facility.

There are about 22,000 acres in Carroll County eligible for solar panels, though all of the land might not be suitable.

Commissioners agreed at the Jan. 26 meeting that they wanted to hear from more county residents about the issue before making a decision.

“I wouldn’t want a 20-acre solar farm 150 foot from our front door,” District 2 Commissioner Ken Kiler said. “I do know that. And not properly screened ... I think we need to move forward with at least investigating this.”

District 3 Commissioner Tom Gordon III said he agreed with Kiler.

“Obviously it’s a topic that there’s two very different sides on this,” he said. “... It’s a complicated matter that we’re looking at.”


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The Feb. 23 public hearing will be available for viewing on the county’s online meeting portal at

After that hearing, the record will be left open for 10 days to allow people to make additional comments. Written comments can be sent to the Carroll County Board of Commissioners, 225 N. Center St., Room 300, Westminster, MD 21157 or email

Commissioners will review all comments and then schedule a discussion and final vote on the moratorium ordinance.