Residents concerned about proposed solar farm in Pueblo County

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PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - Neighbors in one local community say a proposed solar farm would threaten their quality of life and hurt their property values. The developer is Invenergy. They want to build a 700-acre solar farm in southern Pueblo County. It would go just north of Burnt Mill Road.

The developer said that land is perfect for what they need. They also said it would create hundreds of jobs during the construction phase and generate $10 million in new property taxes for the county over the next 20 years. Neighbors originally opposed the idea, and the two sides tried to come to a compromise. Commissioners last heard from both sides back in October. At that meeting, both the developer and neighbors asked for a continuance until Wednesday. Invenergy said they tried to work with neighbors to come up with a solution everyone is happy with.

“We moved it further away from the community that is adjacent to the project and we will move some of our facilities and operations to a more interior location within the site,” said Ben Turner, a manager with Invenergy. “This location is great, we’ve worked with the landowner to figure out this location and there is existing infrastructure right there across the street. For solar, you want to be as close as you can to substations and existing facilities.”

Neighbors in the St. Charles River Estates said the project is a fire risk, and it’d ruin the reason why they moved there.

“Solar will devalue our homes, this has been rangeland for decades and decades. There are beautiful views of Pikes Peak that will get destroyed,” said Crete Wood, a woman who lives in that subdivision. “It is not anywhere near what would accommodate us, our community is not against solar we are against solar in this particular location.”

Pueblo County commissioners heard testimony from both sides Wednesday morning. They’re scheduled to vote on the project on Dec. 12.