The hills behind Canyon View Estates mobile home park are quickly becoming covered with solar panels.
According to the managing partner, Kerry Seidenglanz, the project is being done with the residents’ best interest in mind. To some residents, however, these panels could lead to environmental and health problems.
It all started three months ago, according to resident of 18 years Geri Brown.
Vegetation was removed on the hillside and solar panels were coming in by the truckload. She had not been notified of any panels until they were already being installed, she said.
According to Seidenglanz, the hillside was being cleared to make room for solar panels before residents were notified, but the panels had not gone in yet.
After residents questioned why the hills were being cleared, a letter was hand delivered to each resident’s home, Seidenglanz said.
On a letter dated February 8 and signed by “management,” he explained the reason for the removal of the trees, saying it would be more cost effective and environmentally friendly. And there’s no cost to the residents, he said.
Susan Turner, Brown’s neighbor and resident of 17 years, said she fears the panels will lead to radiation and increased heat and fires during the summer, as well as flooding, landslides and electrocution during the rainy season.
During the Bouquet Canyon fire several years ago, it was the hillside that prevented the mobile home parks from being burned, Turner said. The added electrical wiring is going to make fires more difficult to extinguish, she said.
Before the hillside was cleared, it used to be beautiful, according to Turner. Instead of clearing the hills, Turner said she would have been happy to put solar panels on her roof.
Seidenglanz, however, said he never received a question from a resident asking for panels to be put on roofs.
Residents planned to host a meeting Wednesday, June 28 to discuss filing a complaint and hiring an attorney to fight for compensation.
Seidenglanz told the Signal he would have been happy to attend the Wednesday meeting, but wasn’t invited.
Brown said she did not even think to invite Seidenglanz to the meeting because she figured he would not come. If he did come, she said she’d be elated.
Residents have tried to meet with him before “to no avail,” she said.
With regards to the fire, flood and health issues raised about the panels themselves, however, Seidenglanz states residents don’t need to be concerned.
If there are any issues concerning the panels, he said, the park is completely covered by insurance. He also said solar panels do not create fires and they would not be more detrimental than vegetation would be during a fire.
Solar panels are not a threat to health, otherwise they would not be put in schools, he said.
Regarding the panels being an eyesore, Seidenglanz said he does not believe they are any worse than the weeds and vegetation that preceded them.
According to Evan Gerberding, Communications Director for the California Department of Housing and Community, who approved the permit for the panels, there was no reason for the DHC to deny the permit because they did not see a health and safety issue when they were reviewing the request.
“We are very concerned about the safety of residents in mobile home parks,” Gerberding said. “If we had seen this as a safety concern, we wouldn’t have approved it.”
The department will now send out an inspector to determine if there are any health or safety concerns, she said.
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