Displeasure over Solar Panels Voiced at Town Council

By Brandon HENSLEY

Concerns over the solar panels that the Glendale Unified School District is constructing this summer were a hot topic again at the Crescenta Valley Town Council last week.

Residents Melody McCormick, Herb Poppe and Bill Ryburn used their public comments time to address their dissatisfaction with the way GUSD has gone about installing the panels, which are being put in at Clark Magnet High, CV High, Mountain Avenue Elementary and Monte Vista Elementary.

McCormick, who supports the project itself, is nonetheless upset with how close they are to her backyard.

“They’re now 17 feet from my child’s swing set, and as you can understand, I have concerns,” she said, referring to the heat that will come off the panels.

The free-standing panels will not be on the roofs of the schools, like many assumed.

In previous meetings this summer, parents have voiced their displeasure to district officials for the seemingly behind-the-curtain way the project started. The solar project is being funded through Measure S, which was passed last year and gives funding to GUSD schools. Though public announcements were made, GUSD did not directly speak with affected homeowners and held no discussions until after construction had started.

At the end of public comments, the council agreed to write a letter to County Supervisor Mike Antonovich urging him to remind GUSD it would be in its best interest to consult with community entities such as the Town Council before projects are started.

“What we’re particularly sensitive about is that the Glendale Unified School District did not notify us that construction had taken place, and did not notify home owners,” said Councilmember Robert Thomas. “They would be most affected.”

McCormick said she spoke with Alan Reising, the district’s director of faculty and support operations.

“What he said to me was, ‘We didn’t need to notify the community. We have categorical exemption,’” she said.

“It lacks integrity,” she added. “You don’t come to the community, ask them to vote for something like Measure S and then turn around and use those tax funds to basically devalue the property of the very community you asked help from.”

“Someone mentioned driving past Clark Magnet [High] School and seeing the structure,” said Poppe. “Well, drive on Vicwood Avenue, look up see them. They’re massive. These things are gargantuan.”

“I think we assumed they would be going on the roof,” said council President Cheryl Davis. McCormick said in a meeting with Mountain Avenue residents it was thought they would be on the roof as well.

Ryburn brought before and after photos he took from his backyard behind Monte Vista Elementary, which showed the panels visibly higher than his fence. He also talked about the possibility of the drop in home values.

“It’s a surprise, and people are upset about it, and [now] things can’t be resolved as quickly,” said Thomas.

“They just rubberstamp things, and now they’re seeing the backlash in all of this,” Poppe said of the district.

Today is the CVTC Youth Council meeting at the CV Sheriff’s station from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Appreciation will be shown to the outgoing officers and the new ones for 2012-13 will be introduced. Newly elected officers Joy McCreary and Cooper Iven – both CV High students – were present to represent the youth council.

Upcoming events include the first ever CV Korean-Armenian Cultural Festival at CV Park running Sept. 15 and 16. Community leaders Arick Gevorkian and James Pak were on hand to promote the event.

On Aug. 17 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. there is a Bingo night scheduled at the VFW POST 288 as a fundraiser for the Two Strike Park war memorial wall.

The next CVTC meeting is scheduled for Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. at the La Crescenta Library. Discussion will include speed limits and enforcement by L.A. County Public Works and California Highway Patrol.