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County planning commission to tackle wind farm regulations

Staff writer

County planning and zoning officials will direct their thoughts to Article 27 of wind energy conversion systems overlay district regulations during coming meetings in the hope of resolving controversy that arose in recent months over the regulations.

Much of the controversy has been spurred by regulations regarding the distance wind turbines must be set back from public roads, property lines of neighboring property, and residential structures not included in the permit area.

Concern from nonparticipating landowners spurred them to ask the board to look at Article 27, said planning and zoning commission chairman Derek Belton.

“The thought may be that we haven’t narrowed in on the right wording,” Belton said.

According to the regulations, no turbines are to be closer than 500 feet from the nearest edge of a public road easement or the total height of the turbine plus 50 feet, whichever is greater.

The same setback is required from the properly line of any property not included in the conditional use permit. No turbine is to be closer than 1,320 feet from a nonparticipating residential structure.

Although both Diamond Vista and Expedition wind farms set turbines back the required distances, Expedition’s distances exceeded Diamond Vista’s.

Expedition set turbines back 1,500 feet from participating property owners’ residences; 2,000 feet from occupied residences of nonparticipating landowners; and turbine tip height plus 50 feet from public roads, right-of-ways, and property lines of nonparticipating landowners.

Board member Mel Flaming asked if any wind farm already being developed would be affected by any changes the commission makes.

Belton said any change would only affect companies that apply for a conditional use permit to build a new wind farm.

Commission members agreed that they should make any changes sooner rather than later. The regulation, particularly the portion that addresses setbacks, will be discussed at the next meeting, set for March 5.

Last modified Feb. 19, 2020

 

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