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Union Bridge officials approve property annexation allowing solar farm development

The Union Bridge Town Council this week approved the annexation of 69 acres along Green Valley Road that will allow an 8.1-megawatt solar farm to be developed on town property, in turn providing the town with additional tax revenue.

According to Union Bridge Mayor Perry Jones, the tax revenue that the town expects to collect from this project will be used, in part, for water and sewer system upgrades.

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“We will be able to do some things within our municipality that we won’t have to raise taxes for,” he said.

The property to be annexed, owned by Boston-based company Citizens UB Solar, comprises about 69 acres located between the corporate limits of Union Bridge and the Frederick County/Carroll County border along Md. Route 75, also known as Green Valley Road. While 26 acres of the property is already located within the corporate limits of Union Bridge, the entirety of the Citizens UB Solar property is about 95 acres.

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In 2019, the Maryland Public Service Commission held public hearings in Union Bridge regarding the proposed project. At the time, town officials were opposed to the project unless the property could be annexed into the town, providing tax revenue.

Carroll County comprehensive planner Hannah Weber briefed county commissioners about the annexation during their Dec. 16 meeting.

“The final site plan for this development property was approved by the county planning commission in May 2021,” Weber said. “The land is used as farmland right now … but the plan is to develop it as a solar conversion facility under the town.”

The annexation area is in the county’s “I-1″ light industrial, “I-2″ heavy industrial, and “C” conservation zoning districts and has a land use designation of industrial restricted, industrial general and conservation in the 2008 Town of Union Bridge Community Comprehensive Plan, as amended in 2014.

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Union Bridge officials have indicated their intent to place the annexed area in the “I-R” restricted industrial, “C” conservation zoning districts, according to a county document. The zoning change is not significant enough to require a zoning waiver.

According to Union Bridge town attorney John Mcguire, the annexation resolution will go into effect 46 days following the Dec. 20 approval.

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