SB Co. Planning Denies Helendale Solar Farm

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By Jim E. Winburn, www.civicbee.com

Originally published at http://civicbee.com/2013/11/12/sb-co-planning-denies-helendale-solar-farm/

(Victor Valley)– The San Bernardino County Planning Commission at its Nov. 7 meeting denied a conditional use permit for a solar farm in Helendale after considering the applicant’s revisions to its site plan.

The commissioners were split in their decision, 2-2, resulting in a denial of the project by the Planning Commission’s rules, which require a majority of three votes to take an action, according to Terri Rahhal, planning director for the Land Use Services Department.

“So a split vote of 2-2 results in a denial without prejudice,” Rahhal told the Civic Bee in an email, noting that Commissioner Elizabeth Rider (4th Supervisorial District) was absent from the meeting. “This means that the applicant may re-apply for consideration by the Planning Commission, or the applicant may appeal to the Board of Supervisors.”

The applicant, Sunlight Partners, has proposed to build a 7.5 MW photovoltaic solar facility on 80.6 acres at the southwest corner of Wild Road and Smithson Road in Helendale.

According to an Oct. 31 staff report by Chris Conner, senior planner for the Land Use Services Department, Sunlight Partners revised its site plan, incorporating “an increased setback from the (adjacent) park property to reduce impacts related to aesthetics and blow sand.” The revisions were made after concerns were raised from the Helendale Community Services District General Manager at the Oct. 17 meeting.

According to the applicant’s website, <a href=”http://sunlightpartners.com” title=”SunlightPartners.com” target=”_blank”>sunlightpartners.com</a>, Mesa, AZ-based Sunlight Partners is a leading supplier of small-scale utility solar in North America, by putting “underutilized land to work and focusing on plants which are sized to less than 15 megawatts.”

The website also states that Sunlight Partners is managed by Cate Street Capital Inc., an investment company specializing in putting green technologies and environmentally sustainable development projects into commercial operation.

For more information on the proposed Helendale solar project, review the Planning staff report at <a href=”http://www.sbcounty.gov/uploads/lus/pc/SunlightPartners11713.pdf” title=”SBCounty.gov” target=”_blank”>sbcounty.gov/uploads</a>.

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