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Wind farm project on hold in S.F.

After a heated string of presentations, the Spanish Fork City Council held off making any decisions Tuesday night on the future of a wind farm project in the city until other options are considered.

"We're going to start tomorrow," Mayor Joe Thomas said during the City Council meeting about the search for a compromise. "Open your mind up and let one word in and think -- options."

The council did make one decision about wind farms Tuesday night -- to form a three-member board to represent Spanish Fork residents in discussions about the project.

The issue has sparked a fire among residents, who showed up en masse at the meeting to show support for and against wind farms.

Opponents asked for a moratorium on the wind farm project, but the council has already approved it, with four turbines at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon and five near a residential area.

Wasatch Wind, which owns the approved wind farm project, stands to lose at least $300,000 if there is a moratorium placed on the project, said CEO Tracy Livingston, not to mention the fees associated with re-negotiating contracts.

Residents' main concerns over the project include the size and location of the five Wasatch Wind turbines, the noise produced by the structures and the impact the wind farm will have on property values, said Aaron Fisher, a Spanish Fork resident.

"What we are here for is responsible planning, responsible development,"... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
"We're going to start tomorrow," Mayor Joe Thomas said during the City Council meeting about the search for a compromise. "Open your mind up and let one word in and think -- options."

The council did make one decision about wind farms Tuesday night -- to form a three-member board to represent Spanish Fork residents in discussions about the project.

The issue has sparked a fire among residents, who showed up en masse at the meeting to show support for and against wind farms.

Opponents asked for a moratorium on the wind farm project, but the council has already approved it, with four turbines at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon and five near a residential area.

Wasatch Wind, which owns the approved wind farm project, stands to lose at least $300,000 if there is a moratorium placed on the project, said CEO Tracy Livingston, not to mention the fees associated with re-negotiating contracts.

Residents' main concerns over the project include the size and location of the five Wasatch Wind turbines, the noise produced by the structures and the impact the wind farm will have on property values, said Aaron Fisher, a Spanish Fork resident.

"What we are here for is responsible planning, responsible development," Fisher said in his presentation to the council.

He asked the council to place a moratorium on the development of wind farms to allow sufficient data and public input to be made about the project. "Let's bring our data together.

"These are massive, massive structures, and we're really concerned," he said of the 262.5-foot structures.

At the highest blade rotation point, the structure will be more than 400 feet tall.

Not all residents are opposed to the wind farms, though. James Westwater said the addition of the turbines would help give the community a progressive, forward-thinking image.

To answer residents' questions at Tuesday's meeting, Livingston presented his findings on the impact turbines have on communities.

There will be two wind farm locations, he said, but the location referred to as Spanish Fork 2, which is along Highway 6 and in the old gravel pit near homes, is the cause for the intense debate.

Wasatch Wind took every step required to get this project approved nine months ago, he said, and the public had the opportunity to attend the council meetings to voice concern -- but didn't.

Livingston rehashed how the community could opt to use the electricity produced by the wind farms even though it is contracted out to PacifiCorp. Residents can elect to purchase "green" power on their electricity bill, he said, since all electricity produced -- whether through coal or wind -- flows through a central grid system.

Throughout the long discussion, tension began to rise and residents' voices opposing Livingston's presentation followed suit.

Thomas intervened on Livingston's behalf asking the audience to refrain from speaking out of turn.


Source: http://www.heraldextra.com/...

FEB 22 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1403-wind-farm-project-on-hold-in-s-f
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