Seething Over Solar Seems Senseless In Kehrs Mill Estates

guest blog by Nila Ridings
Most of our readers can relate to being an activist working towards changes in America’s HOAs. We understand being passionate about sharing our knowledge of the abuses and corruption. We can relate to Frances and Jim Babb in many ways. For one, they live in an HOA. And they are strong supporters of solar energy. They believe it is right for America for many reasons. And it’s the most efficient way for them to provide energy to their upscale Victorian mansion in Clarkson Valley; a posh Saint Louis suburb.The Saint Louis Dispatch stated, “The Babbs’ ordeal has turned Frances Babb into a advocate. She’s lobbied state legislators over the past year for the Senate Bill 579, which bars homeowners associations from prohibiting solar energy.” The bill passed. End of the story…or is it? No, it isn’t.

The Babbs requested approval for the installation of the solar panels from their HOA board at Kehrs Mill Estates. There was no response within the time allowed by their CC&Rs. Next they applied for a permit from the City of Clarkson Valley where they ran into a snag that ultimately had to be resolved with litigation and a great deal of nonsense. The Babbs prevailed. The City of Clarkson Valley appealed the court’s decision but were again ordered to issue the permit. The Babbs installed the solar panels and looked forward to living in peace while setting a trend towards using cleaner energy and doing their part to make America less dependent on Arab oil.

Suddenly, guess who has an issue with their solar panels? I know you guessed it right, THE KEHRS MILL ESTATES HOA! Some neighbors claim the solar panels might cause car accidents or bring rabies into the exclusive community. So, now do they want them removed? The Babbs’ house sits a football field length away from the road surrounded by trees so it’s barely visible to passersby.

Will there be another legal battle or will the Kehrs Mill Estates BOD realize how senseless it would be to file suit when the State of Missouri has passed a law that allows solar panels, the City of Clarkson Valley has lost court battles twice, and they didn’t follow their own CC&Rs? We know how this historically goes….after $100,000 or more is spent in legal bills somebody gets tired or goes broke in the fight.

I’ve spoken with Frances Babb and I am 99.9% sure she isn’t going to take her solar panels off of her roof! I’m cheering her on and I hope you will, too. HOAs expect their members to jump at every command and demand but when they don’t follow their own CC&Rs it can sure come back and bite them. Perhaps this will be a lesson learned?

Oh! And a word of caution to our pilot readers. Please do not mistake the Babbs’ solar panels as the runway lights for Lambert Field. Landing your Boeing 757 on one of the HOA private streets is strictly prohibited!

The three attached links are well worth reading!)

(St Louis Post-Dispatch story on the solar fight)

(followup story on solar fight)

(story in Clean Technica)

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About

Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

3 thoughts on “Seething Over Solar Seems Senseless In Kehrs Mill Estates

    1. robert

      The power companies have continued to dismantle solar energy here in Arizona. (Of all places) Sneaky legislation and ending tax credits for those who decide solar is the best way to go.

      Dave,

      It’s happening all over the country for quite some time, due to the efforts of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Just search for “solar ALEC”

      https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=solar+alec

      George Staropoli has written about ALEC’s involvement with H.O.A. legislation before, at https://pvtgov.wordpress.com/tag/alec/

      Even Ward’s buddies at the Independence Institute have jumped on the anti-solar bandwagon. In typical Ayn Randian fashion, they refer to solar users as “moochers” :

      “Freedom Minute: Solar Moochers” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AE1XVJ9gis

      ( see also https://twitter.com/i2idotorg/status/581498690713444352 )

      Interestingly, there is pushback against ALEC’s efforts from the political right:

      “anti-solar legislation came under a surprisingly fierce attack from free-market conservatives and even evangelical groups, many of which have installed solar panels on their churches” – Washington Post 3/17/2015

      “ALEC’s anti-solar attacks have drawn friendly fire from self-identified Tea Party groups who see the effort as anything but free-market friendly. Groups like Barry Goldwater Jr.’s TUSK America say that a user fee is just a new tax aimed at limiting consumer choice” – Slate 9/24/2014

      Reply
  1. robert

    George Staropoli has written about ALEC’s involvement with H.O.A. legislation before, at https://pvtgov.wordpress.com/tag/alec/

    See also “ALEC Offshoot Takes Aim At Local Government” at Evan McKenzie’s blog (August 03, 2014)

    http://privatopia.blogspot.com/2014/08/alec-offshoot-takes-aim-at-local.html

    Another workshop at the inaugural ACCE meeting is titled “Releasing Local Governments From the Grip of Collective Bargaining,” which fits into ALEC’s long-standing antipathy towards unions.”

    The American Legislative Exchange Council is a corporate-funded group that puts state legislators in the same room with corporate lobbyists, who hand our elected officials pre-drafted bills for them to introduce and pass back home. It’s anti-union, anti-environment, anti-consumer, pro-gun, etc. Now, with the American City County Exchange, they are lowering their sights and trying to hamstring and plunder local government the way they have done so effectively in a number of states. Privatization for all, which means taxpayers bear the risk and get turned into fee-paying consumers, and private corporations keep the profits.

    Funny how these people are against “collective bargaining” for workers, but in favor of “the grip of ‘collective bargaining'” when it comes to home owners.

    Reply

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