BEVERLY (CBS) – It’s a neighborhood argument over solar panels, but not the kind you’re used to seeing on roof tops. These are on a pole, right in the owner’s front yard. And that is turning friends into adversaries on a small street in Beverly.
The 20 solar panels mounted on a pole are based on a hydraulic structure that allows the panels to slowly turn and follow the sun.
“We believe in going green,” says Lola Eanes, the owner. She and her husband installed the array about a year ago.
To say that some of her neighbors are unhappy would be an understatement. “It just is an eyesore, and it upset the neighbors,” says Connie Servizio, one of those neighbors.
“I hate looking at it. It’s totally unfit for a residential neighborhood,” adds Ted Downing who lives two houses down from the panels. Downing sees the structure every time he and his wife go out on their deck, and Connie lives right next door, and feels the panels are right in her face.
They’re both worried about property values. “Somebody wants to buy this and they see that, it kind of turns them off,” Connie says.
“I don’t think this is bad looking,” says owner Lola Eanes. And that’s the thing. Beauty and ugliness are in the eye of the beholder.
Are the panels a triumph of green technology, or a blight on a once tight knit neighborhood? “I think it doesn’t look any different than solar panels on anybody else’s roof. They’re just on a pole,” the owner says.
Since the city doesn’t have rules about this kind of installation, the owners didn’t do anything wrong. “We complied with anything the city wanted us to do, and weren’t in violation of any zoning regulations,” Eanes says.
Still, some neighbors are battling, both legally and verbally. “I’m upset with the neighbor that thought this up,” says Ted Downing.
“She gets the benefit, and we have to look at it,” adds Connie Servizio.
Some neighbors also say the motor that turns the panels creates a whirring noise, and they also complain that the city of Beverly did not give them a chance to weigh in on the project before it was constructed.
The Beverly City Council is considering a new law that would regulate these kinds of solar projects, but it wouldn’t affect the existing panels.