Solar farm controversy demands compromise on both sides
Opponents of a proposed solar farm in Denver have laid out their case and now await a decision by county officials on whether it will be built near the upscale Sailview community whose residents adamantly oppose it.
For about six hours Monday night and early Tuesday morning both sides tossed out points and counter-points in an effort to convince the planning board and county commissioners that their cases were the strongest and most deserving.
Sailview residents have taken a hard line, insisting that the farm not be permitted under any conditions. They say it will devalue their property and is not in harmony with the single-family residential neighborhoods of the Webb’s Road area.
Some of them are demanding that if the farm is permitted, the county should mandate that it not be visible at any time from any angle, even during the construction phase.
The company that wants to build the solar farm maintains that it has exceeded all of the county’s requirements and there is no convincing evidence the farm will harm property values.
There were strong cases made on both sides, but everyone can’t be a winner, and what we have here is a classic case of a unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.
Yet anyone who has a clue about basic physics understands that something has to give.
We believe that a compromise that takes into consideration the needs of both sides can be attained if both parties will step back, objectively consider what the other side has said, and put all of this into perspective. There has to be give-and-take by everyone.
One possible compromise was proposed by neighbor Walter Fields, a respected expert in planning and zoning. He unveiled a buffer and landscaping plan that merits strong consideration by both sides. No, it’s not perfect, but nothing in this case is ever going to be.
No matter what the planning board recommends next Monday night, the final say will come from county commissioners who can – and should – insist on some tough conditions that permit the solar farm while at the same time give some substantial visual relief to neighboring property owners.