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By Rebecca Person

November 23, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) --  Residents of quiet Jacumba Hot Springs, a longtime retreat destination for traveling nature lovers and health seekers worldwide, are raising their voices to object to a proposed solar farm directly adjacent to the town. At a meeting Nov. 11 in town, they gathered to learn more about the proposed project and weigh in on its impact on their lives.

Locals say the project, which would cover an area of 643 acres, 6 times the area of their town, will impact its economic base and atmosphere. It could destroy the town’s travel appeal on historic Old Highway 80 where tourists, bicycle, motorcycle and classic car clubs venture, hikers explore the scenic high desert known for its boulder formations, desert washes and native plants, oaks, sunsets and sunshine.  

According to the county website on the project, JVR Solar would include a 90 megawatt (MW) solar energy facility and a battery energy storage system of up to 90  MW; the development footprint would use 643 acres of the 1,356 acre site adjacent to Jacumba Hot Springs and the Jacumba airport.


Ken Kramer’s popular ‘About San Diego’ television show featured Jacumba Hot Springs in its May 2019 episode, and covers the colorful history of the town, whose residents are working to restore it to its previous luster.

In October, the famous Jacumba Spa Resort acquired new owners, a team of young entrepreneurs who are adding their touches of inspiration to the mineral hot spring spa, renaming it Jacumba Hot Springs Hotel. Currently they are giving things a face-lift as much of the town was included in the purchase. 


In light of Jacumba’s promising future and its history as a travel destination just an hour’s drive from San Diego, town residents feel the proposed solar project will conflict with both the expected expansion of the town's future goals (as stated in the Mountain Empire’s Subregional Plan Agricultural Goal encouraging the expansion and continuance of its zoned agricultural uses). 


Residents have objections to the following impacts in relation to the solar project moving forward:


  • depletion of their already diminishing water resources
  • property values decreasing
  • temperature increases up to 36 degrees in the area, known as ‘the heat island effect’ which already soars to over 100 degree ranges in summer 
  • heavy equipment noise and 24 hour daily transformer and panel noise
  • fire hazards increased where fire is already a danger, from high voltage equipment and related installations
  • loss of the natural spaces and rural character the town is famous for, replacing it with an industrialized character of extensive chain link fencing topped with barbed wire
  • impact on local wildlife and plants which includes the scenic aspect of the area
  • 12 foot panels over a 634 acre area adjoining Old Highway 80 contradicts the status the California Legislature bestowed in 2006 upon Historic U.S. Route 80 which ends at Tybee Island Georgia.
  • construction of 300,000 panels offers no employment benefits to locals and in fact jeopardizes its current reliance on tourism and the peaceful rural atmosphere which attracts visitors.


Comments and concerns on the project must be received by December 7, 2020 at 4 p.m .


You can email comments with JVR Energy Park (MUP-18–022) in the subject line to Susan.Harris@sdcounty.ca.gov

and/or by written letter to:

Susan Harris PDS 

5510 Overland Ave. Ste. 310  

San Diego CA 92123 by the same date.


The JVR Solar Park Project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and Major Use Permit (MUP) can be seen at the Jacumba Library and online at http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/pds/ceqa/MUP-18-022/JVRAdminRecord.html 


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