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County wrestles with wind farm plan

Wind farms, wind parks or wind conversion -- no matter what it's called, Sweetwater County has to learn how to deal with it.

Wind farms, wind parks or wind conversion -- no matter what it's called, Sweetwater County has to learn how to deal with it.

The Board of Commissioners had a workshop yesterday with members of the planning and zoning committee and interested parties, including Don O'Shei, who is with Trilateral Energy, one group interested in harnessing Wyoming's wind for energy.

The county planning department received a request from TetonWind Power for a conditional use permit to construct 133 wind turbines on White Mountain.

“I returned the request and told the company we don't have anything in place to begin that process,” said Mark Kot, county planner. “Teton knows where we are. It's not a listed conditional use so it's not allowed. We need to get something in place.”

Kot said he and the rest of the planning staff recommends the commission adopt the regulations for wind farms contained in the draft of the Unified Development Code.

“These rules can be adopted temporarily on an emergency basis for 120 days and extended for another 120 days. After that, permanent regulations must be adopted,” Kot told the commissioners.

“I fear the wind will stop blowing before we get permanent rules in place,“ joked... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Wind farms, wind parks or wind conversion -- no matter what it's called, Sweetwater County has to learn how to deal with it.

The Board of Commissioners had a workshop yesterday with members of the planning and zoning committee and interested parties, including Don O'Shei, who is with Trilateral Energy, one group interested in harnessing Wyoming's wind for energy.

The county planning department received a request from TetonWind Power for a conditional use permit to construct 133 wind turbines on White Mountain.

“I returned the request and told the company we don't have anything in place to begin that process,” said Mark Kot, county planner. “Teton knows where we are. It's not a listed conditional use so it's not allowed. We need to get something in place.”

Kot said he and the rest of the planning staff recommends the commission adopt the regulations for wind farms contained in the draft of the Unified Development Code.

“These rules can be adopted temporarily on an emergency basis for 120 days and extended for another 120 days. After that, permanent regulations must be adopted,” Kot told the commissioners.

“I fear the wind will stop blowing before we get permanent rules in place,“ joked Commissioner Wally Johnson, referring to the length of time the UDC has been under consideration.

He said he's in favor of adopting emergency rules, then putting together a small committee to look at a permanent solution.

Chairman John Pallesen called for two members of the planning and zoning committee to look at the regulations in the draft UDC, and asked for other volunteers. John Hay, a land owner in the area, Craig Thompson, environmental science professor at Western Wyoming Community College, and O'Shei agreed to work on the project. They will have some recommendations for the commissioners at the Feb. 1 meeting.

O'Shei cautioned the commissioners that the regulations listed in the draft UDC are “elaborate.”

“If the regulations are too restrictive, the permitting process takes too long and it becomes uneconomical to pursue the project,” he said.

Source: http://www.greenriverstar.c...

JAN 18 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1012-county-wrestles-with-wind-farm-plan
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