RAISED VOICES: Joan Featherstone is one of many neighbouring residents who are against the development of this land for solar power generation units.
RAISED VOICES: Joan Featherstone is one of many neighbouring residents who are against the development of this land for solar power generation units. Georja Ryan

This is not an industrial area

ROSENTHAL Heights residents are up in arms about the proposed installation of solar power generation units on a residential property on Thornton Rd.

The application for 128 solar panels has surrounding neighbours concerned about where the line will be drawn.

The energy units would earn the owner about $4000 a year, by projecting solar-generated electricity into the main grid.

Joan Featherstone, who lives a few doors down from the proposed area said she was firmly against the whole idea.

"It is an industrial enterprise in a residential area," Mrs Featherstone said.

"I think council's role is, if it's zoned as residential, their duty is to keep it as it has been zoned. We don't want to look out at industrial areas."

Mrs Featherstone said the power plant would become an eyesore and diminish the value of the area.

"McEvoy St is a perfect example. There is the industrial area, then there is a down-classed commercial area further toward the end and that's what I don't want - the place to fall down lower than it's standards," she said.

"It stops any other residents from coming in and spoils the view of quite a few people.

"It is just not what we bought into," she said.

Mrs Featherstone questioned whether the owner of the property would expand the site once he had a taste of the financial benefits.

"The gentleman has several acres of land and once he is getting that amount of money for a small bit of land, you can't tell me he isn't at least going to be tempted to develop more, and people are obviously going to offer him money to do it," Mrs Featherstone said.

But, Mrs Featherstone was not alone with her concerns.

Another nearby resident said he was not only worried about the potential growth of the plant, but the safety issues related to it.

"There are safety issues with kids getting in and playing in there, and I mean, yeah, there aren't a million kids here, but kids are adventurous," he said.

He said it would ruin the atmosphere of the area.

"We bought this place solely because of the rural atmosphere. Who wants to look at solar panels all day?"

But, town planner and applicant Ian Darnell said they need not fear the prospect of growth.

"There is a restriction on the amount of solar panels you can put in any one circuit," Mr Darnell said.

He said the rules at the moment were that any one block - no matter the size - could carry only 5kW of solar to get the 44 cent rebate.

But when the plan for this plant was created, it was before July last year, the rule was that any property could have 30kW on its land.

"They can choose to keep growing on it, but they won't get any more benefit out of it because it won't make anymore money," Mr Darnell said.

If approved, the plant would stand about 2.4m high, it would be 4.2m wide, 13m long and there would be four.

A council spokeswoman said it was currently in the public advertising stage, and would soon move onto council assessment.



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