Virginia’s first proposed wind farm blew away some unhappy neighbors Friday when the Virginia Supreme Court dismissed their appeal of a lower court ruling.
Finding that the Highland County Circuit Court never should have allowed a trial, the state’s highest court, in what will clearly be derided by project opponents as a technicality, rejected the appeal because the landowners sued “Highland County” instead of suing “the Highland County Board of Supervisors.”
In its opinion, the Supreme Court pointed to state code when it declared “The terms ‘locality’ and ‘board of supervisors’ are not synonymous or interchangeable.” In a second case, the Supreme Court rejected
another neighbor’s claim that challenged the county’s planning commission.
Two years ago, the Highland supervisors, after amending the rural area height restrictions, voted to approve the 400-foot-tall ridgetop array. The 19-turbine electricity generation facility proposed by Highland New Wind Development LLC still faces a regulatory hurdle in the form of the State Corporation Commission which is expected to rule later this year. In March, an SCC hearing examiner recommended conditional approval despite claims that the turbines could be lethal for bats and migratory birds.