Fallbrook residents living near the Valley Oak Mobile Park have raised concerns over a possible solar facility that could be installed as a way to offset the mobile park’s electrical bill. During a recent Fallbrook Community Planning Group (FCPG) board meeting, residents brought up their fears, with some citing visual and health concerns.
The uneasiness expressed by residents caused the FCPG to motion for a continuance on the application, which would allow for the residents, property owners, and county staff to develop a plan that would allow for a compromise.
The owners of the Valley Oak Mobile Park have begun the preliminary steps to obtain an administrative permit to install a 381-kw ground mounted PV solar facility as a way to supplement the power needs of the mobile home park, which is located on the 3900 block of Reche Road. According to FCPG design review chair Eileen Delaney, the proposed solar facility would defray approximately half of the electrical cost paid to SDGE.
“The owners own the property adjacent to Valley Oaks, where they would like to build the panels,” she said. “There would be 1,400 solar panels.”
According to Jan Vyse, a resident that spoke against the project, the panels would also be seven feet by three-and-a-half feet in size.
“These are not acceptable,” she said. “The RV park owner will still charge residents based on what their meter says they used, so only the owner will benefit. Some residents are scared the field will devalue their property.”
Vyse also stated it wasn’t clear if there are any health risks related to having so many solar panels in an area.
“Solar panels make the ground unusable for agriculture, so they must be doing something,” she said. “We don’t know the health hazards of these panels; people used tobacco regularly before they found out all about its health hazards. We need to do our research.”
Due to the size of the solar unit, the project will not fall under residential use permitting, said Delaney.
“The owner will have to go through quite a few steps with the county,” she said. “They have to make sure it does conform with the community’s character, and community planning guidelines. This project is very preliminary.”
Some residents in the area do not believe that this type of unit would fit into the rural area of Fallbrook and hope to meet with county staff to discuss options available to them.
“We hope to come to some sort of compromise,” said Vyse, who lives on Crest Heights, located near the mobile home park. “These types of projects are not what Fallbrook is about. It’s a green beautiful valley, and we want it to stay that way.”
Delaney also mentioned that she hoped the three parties would reach a consensus.
“The FCPG continued the item because we would like to see neighbors, county staff, and applicants sit down and discuss their options, and see where it goes,” said Delaney.
“I’m not saying my neighbors shouldn’t have solar; by all means, if someone wants to put up a panel on their roof, let them do it,” said Vyse. “I don’t want it where I walk, and we don’t know enough about what they could do. They’re absolutely ugly, and Fallbrook is a beautiful place. It’s not industrial; it’s green and lush.”