September 12, 2013 – 10:54 AM
Jim E. Winburn, Staff Writer

HESPERIA • A moratorium on solar power development has caused one firm to move projects worth tens of millions of dollars out of San Bernardino County, a company official said.

Scott Mazzola, vice president of sales for Apple Valley-based Desert Solar, told the county Land Use Services Department that despite the need for a solar development code amendment, the moratorium that the Board of Supervisors first passed in June has cost his company dearly.

“By extending this out as long as you have, you have really kind of devastated us — we have literally moved two $70 million projects from San Bernardino County to other locations,” Mazzola said. “We’ve spent several years investing time, resources, money to making these projects work, and in preparation with the college (Victor Valley College) to get new employees — that’s people who now don’t have jobs.”

Mazzola made his comments on Tuesday during a countywide workshop held by Land Use Services. The workshop allowed residents to suggest guidelines for amendments to the county’s code for approving solar projects.

Despite Mazzola’s concerns, many residents criticized the planning of large-scale solar projects in rural areas.

Roger Peterson, a member of the Lucerne Valley-Johnson Valley Municipal Advisory Council who spoke in the workshop via interactive video from the Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center in Hesperia, said the feeling in his area is that residents do not want solar projects near their community.

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