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S.F. mayor says he is optimistic about wind turbine compromise

Spanish Fork Mayor Joe Thomas said he is feeling cautiously optimistic walking into tonight's City Council meeting.

He said he's pleased with the results of several discussions throughout the past weeks, after the two most recent council meetings in which several unhappy residents filled the council chambers and waiting area, many wanting to be heard in opposition to the wind turbines going up in the city. Four are planned at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon, and five others near a residential area.

But by the time residents started speaking up, the City Council already had approved the wind turbines, the zoning already had been amended and Wasatch Wind owner Terry Livingston was moving forward with his plans to start building. But, Thomas said, after a lot of talking, all the parties have aired their concerns and he said he thinks they found the "win-win situation" they were looking for -- moving the group of five turbines to another location.

"We've had nothing but positive, upbeat conversations with everybody," he said.

The complaints have focused on the size of the wind turbines -- each turbine is 406 feet at its highest, he said, which is taller than the Statue of Liberty -- and that they dominate the landscape. Residents requested a moratorium on building and said most of their neighbors opposed the five towers that... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

He said he's pleased with the results of several discussions throughout the past weeks, after the two most recent council meetings in which several unhappy residents filled the council chambers and waiting area, many wanting to be heard in opposition to the wind turbines going up in the city. Four are planned at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon, and five others near a residential area.
 
But by the time residents started speaking up, the City Council already had approved the wind turbines, the zoning already had been amended and Wasatch Wind owner Terry Livingston was moving forward with his plans to start building. But, Thomas said, after a lot of talking, all the parties have aired their concerns and he said he thinks they found the "win-win situation" they were looking for -- moving the group of five turbines to another location.
 
"We've had nothing but positive, upbeat conversations with everybody," he said.
 
The complaints have focused on the size of the wind turbines -- each turbine is 406 feet at its highest, he said, which is taller than the Statue of Liberty -- and that they dominate the landscape. Residents requested a moratorium on building and said most of their neighbors opposed the five towers that would go up near them but didn't know about the public hearings prior to approval.
 
The response at the Feb. 7 council meeting was an unpleasant surprise, said project director Christine Watson Mikell.
 
"We went out of our way to inform the public, so that was disheartening," she said, adding Livingston, who wanted this project to be the flagship, was adamant about doing everything right. "If that makes it so that it's going to be in everybody's best interest, then we're willing to do that."
 
"It really boils down to awareness," Thomas said; only one resident spoke in complete opposition at the public hearing in June when the proposal was discussed, while more than a dozen spoke favorably. He attributes the confusion to a mailer Wasatch Wind sent out informing the people closest to the towers of the public hearings -- he thought it was junk mail at first. He suspects many of his neighbors came to the same conclusion.
 
Since the last meeting, three of the most vocal residents have met with representatives of Wasatch Wind and the city, and different ideas have been discussed.
 
The tentative solution, which both Mikell and Thomas said they believe will go forward, is to relocate the turbines farther south in Spanish Fork Canyon. Two sites have been looked at and a third is still being considered.
 
The new locations could throw off the project a little; Mikell said instead of having the turbines up by the end of this year, as planned, they will most likely be up in the spring or summer of 2007.


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

MAR 7 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1564-s-f-mayor-says-he-is-optimistic-about-wind-turbine-compromise
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