Plans to build a solar energy farm alongside the 405 freeway in Westchester have gone dark after the owner of the land where it would have been built decided against selling it to the developer.

Mirasol Development LLC told the Neighborhood Council of Westchester – Playa last week that the company would withdraw their proposal to raise 50 14-foot solar-panel poles along Thornburn Street between La Tijera and La Cienega boulevards.

“The property owner wanted a different use for the property,” explained Mirasol Development Vice President Genevieve Liang. “These types of things happen. It’s part of the business.”

Liang said Mirasol is still “actively looking” for other possible solar farms sites in Los Angeles, including locations on the Westside.

Mirasol’s decision to pull the plug on its Westchester solar farm project follows a contentious July 7 neighborhood council meeting in which Patricia Lyon, the council’s land use and planning chair, accused the company of blowing off conditions needed for  committee support and making no attempt to communicate with the board.

Company representatives countered that they were pursuing recommendations, including hosting a community meeting about the project, but weren’t ready to move forward until they reached an agreement with the property owner.

Several neighbors had asked the council to hold off on voting whether to support the project because they’d requested meetings with Mirasol and hadn’t got them.

“I’m not disappointed, because quite frankly I think they dropped the ball,” said Denny Schneider, a member of the neighborhood council who lives in east Westchester.

Liang said Mirasol would have pursued the project and complied with the council’s conditions if the property owner had agreed to sell.

Schneider said future developers should learn from Mirasol’s experience.

“If anything, this is a lesson for developers: When you want to build something, check with the people that you are impacting,” he said.

— Gary Walker

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