STOCKTON -- A plan to build a solar farm atop unused farmland in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has died after officials decided the site should be kept for agricultural use.

Michael Robinson's idea to build a 120-acre solar farm atop salty, poor quality soil died after the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors voted against giving the project more time for planning, according to the Stockton Record (http://bit.ly/1eBFsGj).

The same board approved the project in January 2012.

Since the project's approval, two more state agencies had raised concerns that would have required more time and costly review.

The Delta Protection Commission's executive director Erik Vink says the solar farm was not consistent with the commission's plan to keep agriculture as the area's main land use.

The property was also under the Williamson Act, which requires that it remain in agriculture and the county's general plan states that Delta projects must be related to water, recreation or agriculture.

Robinson's father, a longtime grower in the area, said with water issues affecting farming in the Delta, other uses for the land should be considered.

"If we don't have water here shortly, and there is no water to irrigate in the Delta, is (agriculture) still worth protecting that vehemently, or are there other avenues to go?" he said.


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But Vink said the land to be used for the solar farm can still be farmed, meaning its conversion to another use was not in compliance with the commission's plan.

"The information we had indicated the property had been farmed and continued to be farmed," Vink said.

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Information from: The Record, http://www.recordnet.com/