The Apple Valley Town Council is adamantly opposing the 27 wind turbines proposed for Granite Mountain. The council is scheduled to vote Monday night, and is expected to recommend the San Bernardino County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors deny the project.
“My concern is are we really looking at how this effects our desert environment?’” asked Councilman Scott Nassif. “All the sudden there seems to be a mad rush to the desert. We need to be smart about how we manage that resource in balance to alternative energy.”
The project will include 415-foot-tall wind turbines placed on 72 acres along the ridgeline of the Granite Mountain range, northeast of the Cahuilla and Chicago roads intersection. The project is 11 miles east of Apple Valley, just on the edge of the town’s sphere of influence.
The council is concerned with the “visual blight” of the energy project, and how it may impact the property values and quality of life. The windmills will be painted bright white as required by the Federal Aviation Administration, and will be visible from much of the town.
Nassif said the site is a planned growth area for the town and that the turbines may limit future development.
Another concern is that approving the Granite Mountain project may set an unwelcome precedent.
“Once they get in there, they just seem to proliferate and become a windfarm,” Nassif said.
The Bureau of Land Management confirmed this is one of more than 100 proposals for wind and solar energy projects across the Mojave Desert.
As planned, the Granite Mountain turbines will produce 2.3 megawatts each, providing enough electricity for 70,000 residents each year through Southern California Edison.
Since the majority of the project will be on Bureau of Land Management property, the county is currently processing an Environmental Impact Report.
“The BLM on other issues tends to do their own thing,” said Councilman Rick Roelle. Still, he said they are holding out in hope that the agency will take the town’s recommendation into consideration and come up with an alternative location for the project.
Public comments on the project can be submitted until May 2 to the San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department Advanced Planning Division, Attention: Carrie Hyke at 385 North Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino, CA 92415-0182.
21 April 2008
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