HESPERIA The city's rules allowing windmills and solar panels in residential neighborhoods are meant for residents' use, not for commercial firms looking to build on now-inexpensive residential land.


Two years after those rules were approved by the Hesperia City Council, current members clarified their position at Tuesday night's meeting when they shot down a request for a company to build solar farms near homes.


"The actions that we take up here pertain to homeowners," Councilman Paul Bosacki said, "because that's our constituency."


Murrieta-based Sybac Photovoltaics was seeking to build two solar farms in residential communities: a 5-acre farm at 11778 Cambria Road and a 10-acre site on the south side of Rock Springs Road, just east of Glendale Avenue.


Both city staff and the planning commission gave the solar projects their approval, but neighbors of each project appealed, citing concerns that the farms would constitute eyesores, create noise issues and would make it difficult to develop surrounding property.


"I went by and looked at both of these properties," Mayor Russ Blewett said. "I think solar panels would be lousy neighbors."


But the council's biggest objection was that the commercial solar farms violated the spirit of the rules passed back in February 2010, which council members said they intended for the personal use of residents.


"I think we have to look at the original intent for this ordinance and stop this before it sets a precedent," Councilman Thurston "Smitty" Smith said. "Otherwise, it is an industrial, commercial use, and it should be in an industrial, commercial area."


In the end, the council upheld the appeals by neighbors, killing both projects by 5-0 votes. The council also directed city staff to come back with a revision for the 2010 renewable energy ordinance that specified that windmills and solar panels were to be for residential use only.


The next regular meeting of the Hesperia City Council will take place at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 7 at Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Ave.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.