Opponents say solar farm location isn’t good for land

MEDFORD, Ore. — Opponents of a proposed solar farm off Rossanley Drive say they welcome solar power, but it shouldn’t be on fertile farmland. They say construction of the solar farm would have lasting effects on the land.

“We should think of putting solar on top of our buildings, land that has been foul for years, but not productive farmland,” said Gary Hill, opposed to the location of the solar farm.

Farmland off Rossanley Drive in West Medford is currently being used as an organic farm, but that could soon change.

Jackson County Commissioners could soon approve an exception to a rule that preserves the farmland. The condition — that the solar facility be dismantled after 30 years so the land can be returned to agricultural use, which opponents say isn’t that easy.

“They’re going to need to have equipment driving around on the dirt. It’d compact the soils. It’d just be a real tough job to put that back to the same kind of farmland as it is today.”

But some neighbors welcome the change from an organic to a solar farm.

“They do a lot of farming, so we get all the dust from the farming, and the fertilizer is not too healthy,” said neighbor David Watts.

But more than anything, they want people aware of what is happening in their valley.

“I’m afraid they might turn 90 acres into 180 down the road,” said Hill. “I mean, who’s to say? I’m so shocked at this right now.”

A land use hearing is scheduled for June 14th.

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