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Locals asking for more time to comment on solar projects

January 16, 2013

By KRIS REILLY, Editor

In an area of Lucerne Valley already prone to flash flooding, some residents are worried that a pair of planned solar projects could make the problem worse.

A firm called WDG Capital Partners is planning to build the two projects just west of Camp Rock Road and northeast of Highway 18.

The company has applied for conditional use permits with San Bernardino County to build a 10-megawatt project called Agincourt Solar and a 20-megawatt facility called Marathon Solar, both of which will produce energy with photovoltaic solar panels.

The initial studies were released just before Christmas, and the public comment period is set to end on Jan. 28 according to county contract planner Nelson Miller.

Local resident Robin McCartney said she lives just four houses away from one of the projects. She has a long list of concerns, including transmission lines, the effect on the view, impact on desert tortoise habitat and the possibility of increased flash flooding in a part of town where some roads are already impassable due to flood damage.

Miller said there are drainage areas that traverse the project sites but that the projects would be designed not to affect them.

“The intent would be to not disturb the area of those drainage courses,” Miller said.

Miller is handling the two projects in addition to several others. He said he recently took over the projects when another county planner retired. He couldn’t say for certain that the project would have no effect on drainage.

Municipal Advisory Council President Richard Selby is hoping the community will have more time to examine and discuss the possible effects of the project.

The MAC was dissolved with the election of a new Third District Supervisor in December. The MAC will not reconvene until Ramos re-appoints the members. Therefore, the MAC and its land use committee have not had an opportunity to comment on the projects.

“We’re just trying to buy time so the community really knows what’s going on with these projects,” Selby said.
Miller said on Friday that he’d heard from Selby.

“(The comment period) may be extended somewhat, but I don’t know that it can be extend as much as (Selby) wants,” Miller said, explaining that there are statutory timelines that must be followed.

Anyone who feels they may be affected by the projects can submit comments. McCartney said she plans to get her comments in this week.

“They said our community’s going to benefit from it, but we won’t,” McCartney said. “Maybe L.A. will, but we won’t”

Visit http://cms.sbcounty.gov/lus/Planning/Environmental/NoticesDeterminations... to view the project studies. Projects are listed alphabetically on the web page.

Mail comments to:

County of San Bernardino
Land Use Services Department
385 N. Arrowhead Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0182