Three separate appeals have been filed against the proposed 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm on the Carrizo Plain, which was approved by the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission last month.
The county Board of Supervisors is tentatively scheduled to hear the appeals July 12, said Steve McMasters, county planner for the project.
The appeals were filed by Carrizo Plain resident Michael Strobridge, Berkeley resident Jody Stegman and a coalition of environmental groups. The groups are the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, North County Watch and Carrizo Commons.
Issues raised in the appeals are the same as those argued before the Planning Commission and center on the effect the project will have on the many rare and endangered species found on the Carrizo Plain and the thoroughness of the project’s environmental impact report.
“The (environmental impact report) for the proposed project fails to provide adequate identification and analysis of all of the impacts of the proposed projects on the San Joaquin kit fox, longhorn and vernal pool fairy shrimp, golden eagles and other rare plants and animals,” the environmental groups’ appeal states.
First Solar representatives said they continue to work with area residents to resolve concerns about the large project. They also said the solar panels will be located on already disturbed farmland, and the company has gone to considerable lengths to address environmental concerns.
“We look forward to resolution in July from the county Board of Supervisors,” said Alan Bernheimer, First Solar spokesman.
The Topaz Solar Farm by First Solar is one of two commercial photovoltaic plants planned for the Carrizo Plain. A second solar plant, the 250-megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch, has received final approval by the county, but is the subject of a lawsuit.