Commercial Wind Turbine Approved For San Leandro’s Shoreline As Residents Ready For A Lawsuit

SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL//ENVIRONMENT | Approval for a single 100-foot wind turbine on the San Leandro shoreline was reaffirmed Monday night by the San Leandro City Council, 5-1, leaving residents at the nearby Heron Bay housing development to weigh their next move, possibly a lawsuit in Superior Court.

“The [Heron Bay Homeowners Association} board has to make formal vote on it, but I think we were committed before and we’re committed now that we will be filing in Superior Court,” said Alan Berger, the attorney for the homeowners association. “We absolutely do not feel the board of zoning and the city council followed all of the voluminous case law in California for a mitigated negative declaration.”

The city’s Board of Zoning and Adjustments Feb. 7 approved the 100-foot height variance sought by San Leandro wind turbine manufacturer Halus Power Systems to erect the monopole for both research and development and for defraying energy costs at the 10-employee company. Homeowners at the shoreline residential community, however, raised doubts over the findings of a mitigated negative declaration conducted by the city that found the wind turbine posed no significant damage to the environment. The same group has repeatedly urged the owner and the city to perform a more rigorous and costly environmental impact report to further study the issue.

But, city staff said opponents of the wind turbine continually failed to present scientifically-verifiable evidence for their assertions the turbine would greatly harm birds, including some nearby endangered clapper species, nor prove it posed potential health concerns for residents some as close as 300 feet from the proposed monopole.

Whether the city’s approval of a wind turbine sets a precedent for others to sprout in San Leandro is up for debate. San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy argued the council’s decision would not set a precedent for other wind turbines since the conditional permit for the wind turbine to be erected by Halus is uniquely connected to the company’s purpose as a turbine manufacturer. When the owner of Halus Louis Rigaud was asked whether he planned only one wind turbines on his property in the future, he said, “That’s all we want to put up.” Nevertheless, Cassidy added an amendment to the motion that would bar additional wind turbines on the Halus property.

“Clearly it is a precedent,” said Berger after the council’s decision late Monday night. “The condition the mayor imposed is ridiculous. He didn’t get the fact he’s saying we’re not going to let more than one wind turbine on this property, but he doesn’t get it that it’s a precedent for every other property in San Leandro.”

Berger also faulted Councilmembers Michael Gregory and Jim Prola for linking their support of the wind turbine to helping alleviate the city’s noted high rate of asthma. “If you’re saying, that this wind power is so important for single turbines and it’s going to cure diseases and make us green then how do you tell any other business owner in San Leandro you can’t have a 100-foot turbine on the same exact theory.”

Prola, the most liberal member of the San Leandro City Council, described himself as an environmentalist Monday night and said he could not oppose what he called a green tech proposal. “I’m probably involved with more environmental groups that you can shake a stick at,” he said, also noting none have communicated to him any opposition to the wind turbine proposal. “How can I say I’m for green technology and vote against a wind turbine?”

The wind turbine controversy has become an unlikely nexus two competing visions for San Leandro. One which strives to maintain a reputation as a quiet, relatively safe bedroom community, versus a vision of the former factory town growing into a 21st century hub of green tech innovation. The city’s initial exuberance to add Halus and its wind turbine company to the list of green tech firms may have put the proposal on an early turbulent path. Last June, Heron Bay residents said they were blindsided by a relatively unpublicized announcement asking for public input over the wind turbine proposal. However, the city, citing the bare minimum, only notified homeowners within a 300-foot radius of the proposed monopole, which encompassed less than a dozen homes on the southwestern edge of the Heron Bay community. In addition, news of the proposal only became widespread among Heron Bay residents just days before the end of the 30-day public comment period. The public relations snafu alienated many residents who believe the city was intent on pushing through the proposal without consulting with the public.

Councilmember Ursula Reed, who registered the only no vote Monday night, faulted city staff for not offering information about the proposal to the development’s large number of Asian Americans, estimated to make up 75 percent of the community’s 1,500 residents, and some of which possess limited proficiency in English. “A major of residents in Heron Bay speak Mandarin or Cantonese,” said Reed. “I think not having information in those languages could have aided in that confusion in that community.” Councilmember Benny Lee, who represents Heron Bay in District 4, recused himself from the discussion. Lee is a former Heron Bay HOA president who had led the early opposition to the Halus wind turbine proposal before being elected to the council last November.



Categories: Alan Berger, Benny Lee, environment, Halus, Jim Prola, Louis Rigaud, S.L. City Council, shoreline, Stephen Cassidy, Ursula Reed, variance, wind turbines, zoning

331 replies

  1. Why the hell do you care
    if you're not them?

    Like

  2. This is why I care—wind and solar are
    much better than fossil fuels for our health.
    The survival of our country depends on
    having alternate energy, not fossil fuels.

    Like

  3. Marga Lacabe katz wannabe lawyer that
    couldn't pass the bar.
    Katz lied and said she was a lawyer to get
    elected to Central Demo committee.
    Get a life. People getting tired of you bully
    and your wannabe council hubby.
    Get a job, volunteer or clean house

    Like

  4. Anon above–zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Are you in a right state of mind? You really need help
    from a mental health professional. I am not one of the
    Katz's. I do know a little about them and disagree a lot
    with their opinion, but agree that wind and solar are
    much better than fossil fuels for our health. Try and
    stay on topic if you can. The survival of our country
    depends on having alternate energy, not fossil fuels.

    Like

  5. Marga Lacabe Katz. Want to come over
    and sing Christmas carols? We can sing
    Silent Night and you can get up and make
    a fool of yourself, just liked you did
    when you accused the schools of teaching
    children religion.
    Then you can tell everyone your a lawyer,
    when you NEVER passed the bar.
    The Central Democratic Comm. should have
    blow you out of the water for your lies!
    You're nothing but a bully

    Like

  6. Anon above–zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Are you in a right state of mind? You really need help
    from a mental health professional. I am not one of the
    Katz's. I do know a little about them and disagree a lot
    with their opinion, but agree that wind and solar are
    much better than fossil fuels for our health. Try and
    stay on topic if you can. The survival of our country
    depends on having alternate energy, not fossil fuels.
    I can cut and paste as well as you can!zzzzzzzzzz

    Like

  7. I am Lacobe-cats.
    So what?

    Like

  8. I'm a declined-to -state cat who believes in wind and solar.

    Like

  9. Who cares what you believe,
    big talk no action.

    Like

  10. You are the one that's all talk, no action
    We won-you lost
    So I guess no one cares what you believe
    zzzzzzzzzzzz

    Like

  11. No one cares what you believe.
    Action talks – superior court, way to go!
    Walk the Talk!
    What are you going to do about it?

    Like

  12. You will lose the case and your money!
    Your lawyer is in over his head because
    he doesn't understand CEQA law. He will
    take Heron Bay's money. He will learn an HOA
    attorney has no chance. Then the city will get
    some of your money for a frivolous lawsuit.
    LMAOzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Like

  13. You are all talk again.

    You talk to the Church got 2 Million
    from the city!

    THE END!

    Like

  14. Totally different topic–stay on topic
    Church lost more than that on sale of
    property+ they got free legal–you won't
    CEQA law much different than RILUPA law
    You will lose–read CEQA if you can
    LMAO–THE END–OMG zzzzzzzzzzzz

    Like

  15. Talk + Read + CEQA Law + RILUPA
    law = aint and cant pass bar
    = dumb.

    THE END of fake lawyer

    Like

  16. If you want to repeat yourself, I can too.

    Anon above–zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Are you in a right state of mind? You really need help
    from a mental health professional. I am not one of the
    Katz's. I do know a little about them and disagree a lot
    with their opinion, but agree that wind and solar are
    much better than fossil fuels for our health. Try and
    stay on topic if you can. The survival of our country
    depends on having alternate energy, not fossil fuels.
    I can cut and paste as well as you can! zzzzzzzzzz

    Like

  17. Topic = Never Pass Bar
    Read = Fake Talk
    Talk = Pretend Lawyer

    Like

  18. Topic = Ten Bucks

    Like

  19. Somebody from Heron Bay lost and is acting like
    a child. Why don't you stop your whining and
    crying? Boo hoo! Grow up and get the help you
    need from a mental health clinic. Stop trying to bully
    a business that is trying to help clean up our air
    pollution. You make no sense in your phrases!
    LMAO-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Like

  20. Aqui! Aqui!–stop wasting our time with your sour grapes.

    Like

  21. Ten bucks for sour grapes.

    Like

  22. Aqui! Aqui! Ten Bucks plz. Thanks.

    Like

  23. $10 Fake Crazy Pretend Lawyer NEVER pass bar.

    Like

  24. Somebody from Heron Bay lost and is acting like
    a mentally disturbed child. Why don't you stop your
    whining and crying? Grow up and get the help you
    need from a mental health clinic. Stop trying to bully
    a business that is trying to help clean up our air
    pollution. You make no sense in your phrases!
    LMAO-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Like

  25. Talk + Read + CEQA Law + RILUPA
    law = aint and cant pass bar
    = dumb.
    Fake Lawyer is whining and crying.

    Like

  26. I'm not who you think I am, and certainly not a
    lawyer, but I can read CEQA and the materials
    that have been provided by an environmental
    attorney. I'm not whining and crying like a mentally
    disturbed child like you are, because we got the
    the victory of the wind turbine. It would help if you
    did some reading to understand the science behind
    cleaner fuels like wind and solar, but I don't expect you
    to. You react like an older male and a poor loser who
    doesn't bother to believe in science and maybe didn't
    go any further than high school. Grow up! OMG

    Like

  27. Victory…you're in LA
    LA Land.

    Like

  28. LA LA Land would have a lot more wind and solar and
    less fossil fuels with its associated illness and smog.

    Like

  29. Amen to the above post because I too want more
    wind and solar-it's the energy of our future health.
    p.s. I'm a San Leandro resident who's thinking of
    moving to Heron Bay.

    Like

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