Badger Mountain residents say solar energy company "aggressively" seeking land; Streateries approved for 6 month pilot
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Good Morning it’s Saturday July 24th, and this is The Wenatchee World’s newest podcast, Slices of Wenatchee. We’re excited to bring you a closer look at one of our top stories and other announcements every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. 

 

Today - A solar energy company has its sights set on land in Douglas County, the Wenatchee Valley, and a site near Trinidad.

 

Construction time frames aren’t clear yet for the three projects, which apparently are very early on in their planning.

 

This episode is brought to you by Equilus Group Incorporated. Equilus Group, Inc is a Registered Investment Advisory Firm in the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Equilus Group, Inc- Building Your Financial Success. Learn more at Equilusfinancial.com. Member SIPC and FINRA.

 

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Now our feature story...

 

Residents on Badger Mountain say a solar energy company has its sights set on land near their homes. It’s one of three solar farm projects whose backers are scouting spots in Douglas County. 

 

The other two are looking at 5,000 acres with a view of the Wenatchee Valley along Badger Mountain Road and a 2,500-acre site near Trinidad.

 

Construction time frames aren’t clear yet for the three projects, which apparently are very early on in their planning.

 

This comes after passage of a state law in 2019 that strongly encourages the development of alternative energy.

 

One Badger Mountain resident, Lorianna  , said she first heard of the solar project near her home when the company, EDP Renewables North America, approached her about leasing her property. 

 

She said no.

 

But now she believes the project could surround her property.

 

For Breiler, the EDP Renewables North America project presents a simple choice: Thousands of acres of rolling hills, wildlife and creeks or a giant solar farm. And she’s set out to stop it from happening.

 

She explained that workers with EDP have called, mailed and driven out to residents in the hopes of signing leases for their solar farms. They are “very aggressive, and they’re very hush-hush,”.

 

Breiler started going door-to-door in early June asking residents on Badger Mountain if they knew what may be happening in their backyard. But even those who signed contracts with EDP didn’t know the full extent of the development.

 

Breiler is worried that this is going to ruin the way of life that we know today, because we’re going to be surrounded by solar panels. The acreage surrounding her land has been a part of her family for four generations.

 

Breiler has created signs and even a Facebook page called Save Badger Mountain — No to Solar Panel Farms. It’s all a part of her campaign.

 

Jon Stein, a resident and owner of over eight acres in Badger Mountain, agrees with Breiler. A large development on the hills of Badger Mountain, for Stein, would be more than just an eye sore.

 

Stein says he’s pretty concerned. He moved to Badger Mountain from North Dakota to retire. Up here was the only place with affordable land at the time.

 

Stein said his house and views from home face south, where the solar panel farms may be developed. 

 

For him, even if he has to chain himself to a dozer - he will.

 

Douglas County PUD General Manager Gary Ivory said residents in the county have been reaching out to him with concerns about the developments, but the PUD has not been in contact with these companies yet.

 

But Ivory did say that these groups are looking at interconnecting with other transmission providers. He also explained that the PUD doesn’t have a policy that would allow for large-scale solar or wind farm connections.

 

Blair Matocha, a spokeswoman with EDP, did say that the company has energy projects throughout the continent.

 

Matocha also noted that they’re actively prospecting development opportunities for renewable energy projects in Washington.

 

So why is this happening now?

 

Douglas County officials started working to update the county’s code after renewable energy companies reached out to them. The county imposed a moratorium on renewable energy development to buy time to decide what renewable energy projects should look like before accepting permits.

 

The county used the time to study wind and solar farms around the state.

 

Douglas County commissioners lifted the moratorium on July 20 and approved new rules for the planning and permitting of large alternative energy projects.

 

The approved rules include requirements that solar facilities be located at least 7 miles from cities and Pangborn Memorial Airport. It also needs to be apart from habitat associated with sensitive, threatened, or endangered plants or wildlife. 

 

To read more on this story visit us at wenatcheeworld.com

 

Before we continue, a special thanks to our friends and sponsors at Confluence Health. The team at Confluence Health is grateful for the trust the community puts in them every single day. They are diligently working to improve the health and quality of life for our friends and neighbors. They are Grateful | They are Confluence Health.  Learn more by visiting them at ConfluenceHealth.com

Next, 

 

Streateries were a child of the COVID-19 pandemic as restaurants searched for ways to operate under stay-at-home-orders. But they may become part of East Wenatchee’s new normal going forward.

 

The term is a mash-up of street and eatery. It refers to a small outdoor dining area on a street. 

 

The East Wenatchee City Council approved a six-month pilot streatery program along Valley Mall Parkway during a council meeting last week. The vote was unanimous.

 

Permits issued under the program are free and will expire on November 30th. Businesses can use up to three parking spaces in front of their establishment for outdoor seating.

 

The program follows a temporary ordinance the city adopted in August 2020 that allowed streateries along Valley Mall Parkway between 6th Street and 9th Street. That followed a request from a downtown restaurant.

 

This was the only option for outdoor seating in this area. 

 

Businesses with off-street parking already had the ability to convert some of their parking spaces to outdoor seating and service areas. 

 

However, those without off-street parking, like the business along Valley Mall Parkway, were out of luck. 

 

Sidewalk cafe-style dining was also not an option since sidewalks in this area are generally 7-8 feet in width, which can’t simultaneously accommodate a seating area and meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for pedestrian access.

 

Although the six-month program the council approved last week is only temporary, city staff will be evaluating whether to make streatery seating available on a more permanent basis. 

 

That discussion will happen in a public hearing during the city council meeting on Aug. 24.

 

For more information, and to stay up to date visit us at wenatcheeworld.com

 

Now, some history…

 

115 years ago, in 1906 the route for Great Northern Railway’s line between Wenatchee and Oroville was finalized. Construction began that fall with trains in operation by the following summer.

 

This was one of the largest land deals in the history of Douglas County. It was completed with the purchase of 4,000 acres in the Moses Coulee by the Wenatchee Fruit Lands Co. 

 

The property was formerly owned by three pioneers — Christianson, Shmidt and Crisp — who settled there about 23 years prior. 

 

Thanks for listening. Today’s episode is brought to you by Equilus Group, Inc- Building Your Financial Success. Learn more at Equilusfinancial.com

 

The Wenatchee World has been engaging, informing and inspiring North Central Washington Communities since 1905. We encourage you to subscribe today to keep your heart and mind connected to what matters most in North Central Washington. Thank you for starting your morning with us and don't forget to tune in again on Tuesday!

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