Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Barstow man building solar farm

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Barstow man building solar farm near Lenwood Road


Lynn Potter challenging city stipulation to pave road

BARSTOW • A Barstow man is moving forward with development of a solar farm about a quarter mile off Lenwood Road, but he’s challenging a city requirement that he build a road on the border of the project.
Lynn Potter, owner of Barstow Prosthetics, received a conditional use permit Monday to build a 1.5 megawatt solar farm — which will power about 1,000 homes — on Tortoise Road north of Lenwood Road. He plans to appeal the road requirement to the City Council.
Potter’s solar farm will be located on about 12 acres of land and will be built in five phases. The project cost is expected to be between $3.5 million and $4 million. He is currently pursuing a federal grant that will cover 30 percent of the project cost if Potter can get 5 percent of the solar farm built by the end of 2010.
Now that he has his conditional use permit, Potter can pursue a power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison and take other steps to build out his project. He hopes the Council will agree to a deferred improvement agreement, which will allow him to pave the road at a later date. Building a road at that site now would create a safety hazard and open the city up to a lawsuit, he said.
“It’s a quarter-mile-long straight flat road, and if anybody got hurt on it a good lawyer would sue this town for every penny it’s got stashed away,” he said Tuesday.
The city would need financial assurance on the part of the developer before it entered into a deferred improvement agreement, said City Planner Mike Massimini. City staff is reluctant to issue deferred improvement agreements because many property owners don’t make those improvements. The city has to come in, make the improvements and place a lien on the property, Massimini said.
Although he couldn’t put a number on it, Massimini said the Planning Commission has granted many deferred improvement agreements in the past. Deferred improvements agreements can also be approved by the city engineer.
Potter told the Planning Commission he would be willing to start an escrow account, put up a bond or make annual deposits to the city for paving the road if the city granted the deferred improvement.
It would be up to the City Council to review Potters’ documents, Massimini told planning commissioners. The Council on Aug. 2 discussed deferred improvement agreements in connection with the First Samoan Full Gospel Pentecostal Church, which wants to build a church at Vineyard Street and Avenue J.
When asked if Potter would have to pay a development impact fee on his project, Massimini said that would be up to the city’s building official. Development impact fees pay for an increased demand on city services, such as public safety, due the building of a structure like a hotel or a house, Massimini said.

Contact the writer:
or jcejnar@desertdispatch.com

5 comments:

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孫邦柔 said...

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佳張張張張燕張張張張張 said...

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SadeRa盈君iford0412 said...

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TalkerCat said...

Good for Lynn Potter! It's about time this lame town did something positive toward progress. Now, can we get a department store OTHER THAN WALMART?!

There may be hope for this God-foresaken town afterall.