Battle Continues in Mt. SAC’s Solar Project

Staff Reports

WALNUT-Walnut has been the epicenter of a fight between the city and Mt. San Antonio College’s proposed Photovoltaic Solar System project. City officials and some residents say the project would be an eyesore and increase traffic in the city. Mt. SAC says it will save the campus’ thousands of dollars in energy costs.

According to the city officials, Mt. SAC is required to obtain a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the proposed project. In the Oct. 28 staff report, Mt. SAC officials note that the school “will not be requesting a CUP for the said project.”

City staff contacted the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission for support. But both State agencies indicated that they are exempt from local zoning due to the type of project.

Residents are also joining the city’s forces to fight off the project. During the Oct. 28 council meeting, several residents expressed concern over the aesthetics and increased traffic on the intersection of Grand and Temple, and the Council agreed that action was necessary against the project.

The outcry of residents moved the Council to figure out how to cease construction of the proposed solar project.

In October, the city approved bringing in legal help. The city agreed to hire Leibold McClendon & Mann to help them fight Mt. SAC’s proposed project. The city’s new legal team will review and analyze Proposition 39 and government codes.

With construction planned in late spring/early summer of 2016, City officials are not backing down. “Walnut fully intends to enforce City Zoning Code regulations, City General Plan guidelines and State and Land Use law as it pertains to any proposed development at Mt. SAC,” city staff reports state.

“The City Council remains committed to safeguard the health, safety, and general welfare of the community at large,” city officials added.