• Steve Brown

County Land Use proposes alternate Renewable Energy (RECE) language for General Plan

More than eight months after removing renewable energy language that would have restricted large scale renewable energy projects near rural desert communities in San Bernardino County, the language originally presented for adoption is back - with an "alternative."

County Planning Director Terri Rahhal explaining how Land Use Services chose to delay forwarding RECE language to the Planning Commission, and the decision to add an alternative version of the language for consideration.

San Bernardino County's General Plan language that would heavily restrict the development of utility scale solar and wind power projects in much of the county through the Renewable Energy Conservation Element (RECE), will finally be heard by the Planning Commission. The Board of Supervisors directed that the 4.10 language (as it is often known), was to be referred to the Planning Commission for their review and approval - in August, 2017. After its approval by the Planning Commission, it was to be sent back to the Board of Supervisors for final approval. But instead, it has languished for months, as County Planning Director Terri Rahhal met with renewable energy industry representatives, and several large scale solar projects were allowed to move forward.

Now, the RECE 4.10 language will be considered by the Planning Commission - along with an "alternative" to the language, crafted by the county's Land Use Services Department, at the May 24, 2018 Planning Commission Hearing (9 a.m.).

Critics have noted that the "alternative" to the 4.10 language previously sent to the Planning Commission for their review and approval, is nothing more than a rewriting of requirements already included in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which would be mandatory for all projects anyway. Rahhal, who recently defended her handling of the 4.10 process at a Newberry Springs Municipal Advisory Council meeting, has not explained how the new alternative differs, if at all, from mandatory CEQA requirements.

Rahhal noted that the public had wanted even more restrictive language than what was included in the original 4.10 section, making the creation of an alternative that was less restrictive, while holding up the review and adoption of the language for nearly 10 months, somewhat baffling. She did note that after the public comment period for the 4.10 language had closed, she met independently with representatives of the renewable energy industry to obtain their input.

You may review the original 4.10 language, and the alternative language, here:

Find the San Bernardino County Planning Commission agendas and staff reports here:

If you're a San Bernardino County resident, find your County Supervisor, and let them know what version of the RECE 4.10 language you support, here:

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