Carroll County Times Opinion

Will new commissioners listen to residents about solar farms? | READER COMMENTARY

New commissioners need to correct the solar farm mistake

Kudos to Sherry Greenfield for writing this article and for Carroll County Times for printing it.

What was not mentioned, was the number of concerned citizens from Carroll County who attended that meeting. The commissioners’ room was filled to overflowing with residents who oppose the development of a “Community Solar Energy Generating System,” which are popping up in their backyards and on viable, valuable and currently farmed ag land.


Kudos also to the newly elected commissioners who have listened to their constituents, read their impassioned emails and letters identified their deeply held feelings and stories. There are so many residents of Carroll County who live in agricultural and residential neighborhoods; they were born here and will never move away. I meet folks often who say “I used to fish in your pond when I was little,” and now their children do the same. There are also many like me who moved here 20 years ago or less, to seek the rural ambiance and country appeal. There is a reason why the No. 1 industry in Carroll County is agriculture. Did you know that 50% of land mass in the county is agricultural in use, that there are 708 farms? Did you know that Carroll County is No. 1 in Maryland for acres in Farmland Preservation?

On Jan. 6, 2021, before the then-county commissioners adopted the amendment to allow solar development of up to 20 acres ( May 15, 2021), the Carroll County Farm Bureau penned a letter to reiterate its policy recommendations. This policy had been adopted by the farm bureau membership at the annul business meeting in October 2020 and stated “After reviewing all the information and after much discussion, the legislative committee decided to submit a policy recommendation that opposed any community solar implementation on Ag land, whether it be an Ag remainder or not.” Think about that a minute, the organization that represents the farmers and agriculture in Carroll County opposed solar development in communities zoned agriculture … and the then-commissioners disregarded the recommendations.


Most of the residents and communities in Carroll County do not oppose solar attempts to generate energy. They do oppose ground-mounted solar panels, institutional fencing, months of construction in their backyards. There is myriad valid reasons. Put them on rooftops, barn roofs, brown fields, industrial zones and commercial zones that do not touch residential areas. So now it is up to the new commissioners to make right the mistakes of the former commissioners. Please complete “due diligence” in your research and outreach. Seek knowledgeable and experienced professionals in the field of solar energy who are unbiased in their methods.

Do not cave in to external forces from state mandates and pressure from solar energy companies to meet “green energy” goals and projections. Seek the input of the communities and residents in your respective districts. They know how they feel and why. Talk to those community and social groups. Elicit comments and feelings from everyone in Carroll County. Be transparent in relating your plans, motives and recommendations, before putting them into more amendments. Educate residents and groups. Use the local newspapers, social media and civic groups. Carroll County residents are all interested in what is happening in their neighborhood, especially something this important to them. It will hopefully make their quality of life better.

On a personal note, my life was completely changed when a sign appeared in the field across from my 50-acre farm inviting me to attend a TRC meeting to discuss Spring Valley Solar, on May 23, 2022, eight months ago. What kind of meeting? About what? Who is Development Review? None of us in the neighborhood knew anything about solar. Please don’t let this happen again to any resident of Carroll County.

“Community Solar Energy Generating Systems” do not belong in residential areas or on agricultural land.

Annette Fleishell, Sykesville

Taking issue with article about House panel on China

My wife and I recently moved to the county, and enjoy your newspaper. On occasion, I’m troubled, though, by the manipulation and distortion of the news. The Jan. 23 article titled “House panel on China stoking fear” is a good example.

About 80% of the article objectively reports on the efforts of the House Republican majority to investigate the troubling economic competition with China. The vast majority of the Congress voted in favor of this newly created committee, by a vote of 365 to 65, yet negative and alarmist comments by Democratic opponents dominate the opening of the article and at key places within Rachel Oswald’s article — including the headline, cited above.


Hidden deep within the article is the statement by the panel’s chairperson, Mike Gallegher, a Marine veteran, who stated “[W]e must make sure that we are drawing a distinction between the party and the Chinese people,with whom we have no quarrel and who are often the primary victims of CCP aggression and repression.” No serious citizen will question or dispute the concerns of Democratic Reps. Grace Meng and Andy Kim, both Asian Americans, but in their statements neither said nor implied that any such vituperation was suggested by the committee — yet the article certainly leaves that impression.

One wonders whether the reporter shaped her article in this distorted way, or whether local editorial boards did so. Either way, such distortions may cause the very result that the committee seeks to avoid — and also causes serious citizens to question the accuracy and dedication to truth that newspapers purport to champion.

I appreciate the chance to voice my concern.

David Sampselle