Proposed solar housing development dealt a setback

Clear Lake’s Planning and Zoning Commission has turned back a request from a local businessman proposing a solar-powered housing development.  However, Equinox Eco Villas, proposed by Gregg Bacon, may still come to fruition in due time.

Bacon completed construction of an Equinox zero energy solar powered home in 2017 on property he owns on the southeast corner of Clear Lake city’s limits on South 32nd Street.   He is now seeking to create additional quarter-acre lots on the property to accommodate 12 solar-powered homes that will range in size and styles.

At a Tuesday, Aug. 28, P&Z hearing the development proposed by Bacon was turned down on a 4-1 vote.  Member Andy Meyer cast the lone vote in favor of allowing the proposed development.

City Building Inspector Mike Ritter explained Bacon was seeking a waiver from a city ordinance which requires developments to have hard-surface roads to each property.

“I believe all of the Board members liked the concept, but didn’t want to set the precedent that development could be made without hard surface roads,” said Ritter.  “For city equipment, fire trucks and police we feel it is necessary for hard surface roads.”

Bacon said his sun-powered Equinox home at 2510 S. 32nd St. is just marking its one-year anniversary and it has not only produced enough energy to cover its own electrical costs, but it has produced an additional 4,000 to 5,000 kilowatt hours, which is enough to pay for almost all of next year’s electrical usage.  It’s success has led to interest from others seeking similar properties.

Bacon said he understands the P&Z’s decision, but was advised to begin the development proposal process with the Commission.  His next step is to continue working with the City and speak with the City Council about his plan.

“We had hoped to get things started this fall, but now will probably back that up until next year,” said Bacon.

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