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Windfarm project back under Santa Barbara County scrutiny

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY – Santa Barbara County’s first wind farm project is back in the spotlight and opinions on the project are, again, blowing in both directions.

The proposed wind power farm on ranchland south of the Lompoc Valley is under review by county architectural planners.

86 year old cattle rancher Joe Signorelli points to the area where the proposed windfarm will be built, few people know the land as well as him.

“Oh yeah, I think so”, Signorelli says, “I’ve been here all my life.”

Signorelli supports the windfarm project because of its green potential.

“Yeah, clean energy, that’s why I’m for it”, Signorelli says, “because I know when I go to Los Angeles down there its so smoggy you can hardly stand down there, so if they had windmills out there they wouldn’t have all that smog.”

When completed, the wind farm will include 65 turbines each standing about 400 feet tall and a five thousand square foot operations facility.

“How do you put lipstick on a pig”, says project neighbor George Bedford, “it still comes out looking like a pig, right?”

George Bedford and his wife built their dream home high on a ridge overlooking the Pacific ocean, the Lompoc Valley and the site of the wind farm.

Bedford says Santa Barbara County should hold the builder-operator of the wind farm, Acciona Energy, to the same architectural standards he was held to.

“They made us lower the pitch, the peak of house, 18 inches because of their concern of visual impacts”, Bedford says, “no matter what color they paint those turbines, they are still going to be turbines, they are still going to be up in the sky 400 plus feet with rotating blades, how do you make those blend into the natural terrain like my house was required to do?”

The wind farm project is expected to come before the County’s Central Board of Architectural Review again next month.

Santa Barbara County has granted Acciona Energy an extension of its building permits for the wind farm project.