North County neighbors say church's solar project blocking view - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

North County neighbors say church's solar project blocking view

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RANCHO BERNARDO (CBS 8) - Neighbors in a Rancho Bernardo neighborhood are upset about a solar carport project going up in a church parking lot blocking their views.

“I’m just livid, I look out and see this monstrosity, it's disgusting to look at,” said Leeroy Thompson.

He and several other homeowners have backyards that butt up to the parking lot of the Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church. Neighbors say the church did not give them enough advanced notification about the 700-foot long project.

“This church comes in here and they just do this without any consideration for us and they call themselves a community church,” said Shannell Thompson. “The beams went up on Monday and that is when we could see, wow, we were misinformed." 

CBS News 8 obtained a copy of a letter neighbors say was sent from the church to neighbors on July 2, construction started on July 5, saying planners assured views would not be impeded.

“Those were all lies,” said Shannell Thompson.

A spokesperson for District-5 Councilmember, Mark Kersey, says the solar application did not need to go through a planning board or council rather they are issued by the City’s Development Services Department.  The office has shared the neighbors’ concerns with the department which is now reviewing the permit to make sure it is in compliance.

Neighbors say they met with the church Thursday night but believe their concerns will not be addressed and the project will move forward.

“They are stewards of the community they should stand for good values and neighborly behavior and not to even involve us in the planning process giving is advanced noticed about what they are planning to do it's just absolutely disappointing,” said Jason Ruff.

The church e-mailed this statement:

“RBCPC has been pursuing the possibility of installing a solar power electrical system that would reduce our carbon footprint and substantially reduce our electricity needs, benefiting our community as a whole.  In the past months we have worked with multiple vendors, including SDG&E and the City of San Diego Planning Department. We made modifications to this project based on that input, and obtained all of the required permitting to ensure the project complied with all applicable regulations.  Construction began right after July 4 and will be completed shortly.

Earlier this week, for the first time a few households expressed their personal issues about this project.  We met with them as soon as practical, on July 22, 2016 at 7 p.m.  We listened to their concerns, attempted to answer their questions and said we would start investigating their issues, which we started this morning.  We are currently speaking with our contractors to see what ways we can address the issues they raised last night. Our desire and prayer is to continue to be a blessing to our community.”

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