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City Will Go to Court Over Solar Panels

| News | January 31, 2019

Back in July, the city found a way to force removal of the solar panels at the Canyon View Estates mobile home park, citing how the applicable county permits require 50 percent of the property to be maintained as open space. The panels violated that, so the owners needed additional permits from the city.

The city gave managing partner Kerry Seidenglanz until Aug. 11 to meet with city officials and either detail how the panels will go away or seek the additional permits.

From all indications, Seidenglanz ignored the city, forcing it to go to court. A judge will hear the matter in Chatsworth on Oct. 21.

“They are out of compliance with the city on their development agreement when they originally put that part together,” Councilmember Bob Kellar said. “Unless that owner decides to take them out on his own accord or something like that, we’re not backing down. We’ll find ourselves in a courtroom and see if we can beat him on this.”

According to the press release the city sent out Sept. 12, the city asks for “preliminary and permanent injunction and declaratory relief to abate a public nuisance,” related to the solar panels, which are considered an eyesore because of the non-symmetrical way they were placed on the hillside behind the park. The city alleges the solar panels’ installation violated the city’s municipal code and the park’s conditional use permit, which states that 50 percent of the park needs to be maintained as open space.

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Additionally, the suit alleges the property owners did not obtain the necessary permits, did not submit the required geotechnical report, did not complete the required hillside development plan and are operating a power-generation business within the park, a zoning violation.

“While the City supports efforts to move to renewable energy, the City takes seriously its responsibility to enforce conditions of approval, which are designed to protect the quality of life in Santa Clarita, balancing the need for development with the preservation of open space,” the release concluded.

In fall 2017, and without the city’s knowledge, the Canyon View Estates owners put up about 6,000 solar panels on the hill overlooking the property after removing the vegetation. The city seemed powerless to stop the project because, as a classified manufactured home-planned unit development, Canyon View Estates required only state approval. Seidenglanz said he only needed to get approval from the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), which Seidenglanz said he got after “50 inspections.”

After much community outcry, the city took months of research and communication with the HCD and county before finding the open-space requirement.

Seidenglanz, City Community Preservation Manager Daniel Rivas, City Attorney Joe Montes and spokesperson Carrie Lujan didn’t respond to phone calls or emails.

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About Lee Barnathan

Lee Barnathan has been a writer and editor since 1990. His articles have been published in newspapers, magazines and online. His new book "If You Experience Death, Please Call and Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language," a humorous look at the ways people misuse English, is available on Amazon or at his website, www.leebarnathan.com. He is hired by people all over the country to help them refine the message or story they wish to share with their target audience or demographic.

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