Pueblo County commissioners reject solar farm proposal

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PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - Neighbors in one Pueblo County community no longer have to worry about their property values being negatively affected. County commissioners rejected a proposal to build a 700 acre solar farm across the street from their homes Wednesday morning. This would’ve been built on the southern portion of the county near Stem Beach.

The commissioners all said they liked the idea of bringing solar power to Pueblo County, but not in that location where Invenergy wanted to put it. They said it’d hurt property values and the neighbors quality of life. Invenergy picked the location it did because it was ideal for solar production and very close to an electric sub-station. This didn’t stop neighbors from fighting back against the proposal though.

“If you invest in a property, you don’t want some industrial solar plant to come in and ruin the value,” said Daniel Jahnke, one of the neighbors who opposed the project.

Jahnke moved to the St. Charles river estates for a simple reason. His house is for sale currently because his wife recently got a job in another state. He said that since this solar issue has come up though, he has had no perspective buyers.

“It was really the beauty and the serenity. It was just a beautiful location,” said Jahnke. “We never thought in our wildest dreams we’d live in a house like that.

He feared that the proposed 700 acre solar farm though would hurt his property value, but the commissioners unanimously rejected Invenergy’s proposal.

“I think it was a lost opportunity today. I am certainly disappointed. I felt we met the requirements of the permit,” said Ben Turner, a manager of renewable development for the company.

It’s back to the drawing board for Invenergy as they feel this is a lost opportunity for Pueblo County.

“It’s also lost property tax revenue, this projects would’ve brought a lot of revenue into the county and a lot of notoriety in the county for being a leader in renewable energy,” said Turner.

The commissioners urged Invenergy to come back and continue working with the county to try to find another spot for the solar farm. Turner said this project would’ve generated 10 million dollars in property taxes over a 20 year period.