Local News

Tuesday, Nov 13 2012 06:35 PM

Supervisors rescind wind zoning, discuss animal shelter improvements

BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

Kern County supervisors eliminated old wind-energy zoning on land near Sand Canyon north of Tehachapi Tuesday.

And in doing so, they got support from a number of the biggest critics of the area's wind energy development.

Supervisor Zack Scrivner said the Sand Canyon area, which is home to the Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park and has a lack of existing energy transmission lines needed to support wind development, is not the right place for the decades-old zoning.

Property owners in the area complained that they bought the land hoping to profit from the development of wind energy and it was unfair for the county to take that right away.

But supervisors, though sensitive to the concern, voted to support the elimination of the zone.

SHELTER

Kern County Animal Control Director Jen Woodard and her bosses on the Kern County Board of Supervisors discussed the failings of the current main county animal shelter on South Mount Vernon Avenue.

Woodard said the county and city of Bakersfield, who are working on a plan for joint shelter services in metro Bakersfield, don't necessarily need to build a new shelter.

But the current shelter has serious problems and more space to house animals will be critical, as will improved quarantine areas for cats and dogs and room for medical staff to do animal assessments and spay and neuter surgeries.

But while working with the city is critical, fixing some of the problems at the shelter must be tackled aggressively and immediately, said Supervisor Mike Maggard.

"Our community doesn't want us to wait until we've worked out an operating agreement with the city of Bakersfield," he said. "If we operate like a bureaucracy, we will get results like a bureaucracy."

Supervisor Ray Watson said many of the issues raised by Woodard, who is new in her job, have been known by the county for a long time.

"I think our board has known the limitations of that facility out there for some time -- years," he said.

Now is the time to make the issue a "front-burner" issue, Watson said.

"We do want to work hand-in-hand with the city to come up with an answer to that," he said. But, "I think we need to recognize the fact that the facilities need to be taken down and replaced or we need to find facilities somewhere else."

Steve Teglia, Bakersfield's assistant to the city manager, said progress to address problems at the shelter is being made and the city is committed to the effort.

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