Sen. Tucker helps developer de-annex land from Wesley Chapel
WESLEY CHAPEL – Village leaders are perplexed why N.C. Sen. Tommy Tucker filed a state bill to de-annex eight parcels from Wesley Chapel and Mineral Springs to help a proposed solar farm.
Wesley Chapel Mayor Brad Horvath said he isn’t necessarily against the use, but he wonders why the property owners are working with the senator to bypass the village’s zoning process.
Horvath told his village council that Tucker called him May 29 to ask if Wesley Chapel had anything on its zoning ordinances that would allow for a solar farm.
“I did ask the senator at that time if we could be given the opportunity to work on a text amendment that would allow that use,” Horvath said. “In my opinion, it would not necessarily be a bad use. It has a benefit to the community and it would not increase traffic and it would not increase school density.”
Tucker filed Senate Bill 802 on June 1. The eight parcels are north of Cuthbertson and New Town roads. The largest piece is about 43 acres.
The village council called an emergency meeting to discuss SB 802 on June 8. The council passed a resolution to oppose the de-annexation of the property.
“The village believes this will set precedence and cause irreparable harm should the state undermine and bypass the authority of this municipality by granting de-annexation from the village,” according to the resolution.
Councilman Mike Como described de-annexation as a slippery slope, because other property owners may choose to bypass the council and go straight to the senator.
“It sets a dangerous precedent,” Councilwoman Amanda Fuller said of Tucker’s bill. “We have to stand up for our local municipality. One of our main jobs is land use and zoning. If that’s taken away from us, why are we even a village council?”
Councilman William Rodriguez said the village could use a planner that is not only available a few days a week, but is also looking ahead of the curve.
“I do feel we need to hit the breaks on this, but we need to do work as a village of being more proactive in planning what we want for this community. We can’t keep saying no to everything. Otherwise, people feel frustrated and they are just going to look for that other opportunity.”