County Approves Ban On Massive Solar Projects In Rural Residential Areas

Experiences with utility scale solar projects in Newberry has been less than agreeable considering the negative impact of the solar project on Mountain View, major drifting sand problems having almost buried adjacent residences not to mention the view obstruction and ground-cover damage created by massive multi-axis monstrosities. So the proposals to build utility scale mega-projects in both Newberry and Daggett have met with vehement opposition from local residents.

The same opposition to a multitude of similar projects also comes from residents in many other desert communities. So on February 28 at a special meeting the San Bernardino County Supervisors voted 4 to 1 to insert the original language of Policy 4.10, which essentially prohibits massive utility scale solar projects in rural residential areas, into the County General Plan.

In 2017, most of the language of the Renewable Energy Conservation Plan was inserted into the County General Plan except for Policy 4.10 because of opposition from utility scale solar developers and the unions that would be tasked to build them. The policy was then sent back to the County Planning Commission for reconsideration, but opposition to any revision by desert residents was so great that the policy language was returned to the supervisors for their consideration essentially without much modification.

Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, one massive project application for Newberry has been withdrawn with several projects spanning both Daggett and Newberry still under consideration. One would hope that local opposition would cause at least a couple of these projects to be canceled as well, but there is no guarantee since those projects could very well be grandfathered considering that the permit applications for those projects predates the insertion of Policy 4.10 into the County General Plan.

Thus, vigilance is the keyword for Newberry residents, and the Planning Commission list of proposed solar projects at http://www.sbcounty.gov/uploads/LUS/Renewable/SolarProjectList2019_Maps.pdf merits periodic examination. There is still the possibility that we will eventually surrounded by these monstrosities.