Special Sections : Wind Energy

Wednesday, Jun 15 2011 08:44 AM

City Council formally opposes wind parks

At the June 6 regular meeting, the Tehachapi City Council voted 4-0, with council member Linda Vernon absent, to send a letter to the Kern County Planning Commission formally opposing wind parks in the greater Tehachapi region.

The approved draft letter states that the city council “would like to go on record that we are in opposition to these relatively new wind park proposals that are encroaching far too close to established residential communities such as Sand Canyon, Mountain Meadows, Old West Ranch and the City of Tehachapi.”

The letter also notes that because  the majority of these projects require a general plan amendment and/or zone change to facilitate a wind park, it “suggests that the areas in question were never intended to accommodate the wind industry.”

Linda Parker of the Kern Wind Energy Association told the council the industry is having a hard time finding places to build.

“All I ask is that we can co-exist,” Parker said. “I don’t have a problem with comments or with people addressing their concerns because the process vets that out. To say that you formally oppose the projects is a little hard for me. All I ask is that you let the process vet out the city’s concerns, the communities’ concerns and everybody’s concerns.”

Council members each voiced their opinion that the letter is timely.

“This is a letter. I don’t think it’s too strong,” council member Phil Smith said. “I think that [we are] voicing our opinion way up front where it should be. You don’t want it at the end where they’ve spent their million and now we’re objecting.”

CodeRED implementation

Tehachapi Chief of Police Jeff Kermode gave a presentation to council on the CodeRED emergency notification system to send out emergency information to targeted recipients via phone, cell phone text and email. He explained how the system could be configured to notify all groups or target a specific area or group. The first “all call” test message was sent at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8. The default database is based on city residents listed in the white pages of the phone book. Persons using only cell phones, wanting other forms of notification or living outside the city limits may also register for notification by going to the city’s website, www.tehachapicityhall.com.

Other business

In other action the council approved awarding a contract to W. M. Lyes Company in the amount of $3,773,060 for the upgrade of the water treatment plant. The project will be paid for with money from the state revolving fund. The total estimated cost of the project is estimated at $4.4 million. The city will receive $2.2 million in principle forgiveness (principle forgiveness is a form of grant) and the balance will be covered by a state revolving fund loan at 2.6 percent interest.

The council also approved the use of the Tehachapi Rodeo Grounds for July 4 by Benz Bad Bulls for the Professional Bull Riding event; use of Tehachapi Municipal Airport for the 9th Annual Celebration of Flight Sept. 24-25; use of city streets in Capital Hills area by RV Peddler for an RV show and sale, July 8-17; and Main Street Tehachapi’s annual Chili Cook-off on June 18.

Public hearings were held regarding resolutions for the levy of assessments in District Number One for lighting and drainage. Both resolutions were approved by 4-0 votes.
The meeting lasted just over two hours. The next meeting of the council is scheduled for June 20 at 6 p.m. at the BeeKay Theatre.

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