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Commission discusses turbines in city

It was more wind talk Monday evening as the Hays Area Planning Commission continued efforts to develop wind turbine regulations for city-governed land. The board has been working to develop the regulations for several months, and with a couple extra work sessions, hopes to wrap the process up by November. Because the commission oversees regulations in town and within the surrounding 3-mile radius, rules for both hobbyist and commercial towers have been taken into consideration.

It was more wind talk Monday evening as the Hays Area Planning Commission continued efforts to develop wind turbine regulations for city-governed land.

The board has been working to develop the regulations for several months, and with a couple extra work sessions, hopes to wrap the process up by November.

Because the commission oversees regulations in town and within the surrounding 3-mile radius, rules for both hobbyist and commercial towers have been taken into consideration.

At Monday's meeting, commissioners discussed whether commercial-sized towers should be allowed within 3 miles of town.

"I think we need to eliminate special-use permits altogether and just ban inside the 3-mile radius," Planning Commissioner Mark Deterding said. "That would simplify everything for everyone here, it would simplify everything for all the developers."

The commission also briefly discussed how this solution would affect Fort Hays State University's plans to pursue a few wind turbines of its own.

Chairman Larry Gould said it remains unclear whether local zoning regulations apply to the university's state-owned property.

City staff has investigated the issue, and City Attorney John Bird has prepared a statement... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

It was more wind talk Monday evening as the Hays Area Planning Commission continued efforts to develop wind turbine regulations for city-governed land.

The board has been working to develop the regulations for several months, and with a couple extra work sessions, hopes to wrap the process up by November.

Because the commission oversees regulations in town and within the surrounding 3-mile radius, rules for both hobbyist and commercial towers have been taken into consideration.

At Monday's meeting, commissioners discussed whether commercial-sized towers should be allowed within 3 miles of town.

"I think we need to eliminate special-use permits altogether and just ban inside the 3-mile radius," Planning Commissioner Mark Deterding said. "That would simplify everything for everyone here, it would simplify everything for all the developers."

The commission also briefly discussed how this solution would affect Fort Hays State University's plans to pursue a few wind turbines of its own.

Chairman Larry Gould said it remains unclear whether local zoning regulations apply to the university's state-owned property.

City staff has investigated the issue, and City Attorney John Bird has prepared a statement discussing Kansas court decisions that suggest local zoning ordinances do apply to state-owned land, subject to other considerations.

Gould said the issue has been sent to the Kansas Attorney General's office for review.

"It's not clear what the university can do or can't do," Gould said. "I think that's not going to be anything that we can clear up in the time we've been allotted, so I think we need to move forward."

A moratorium on wind development within city limits is effective until Dec. 31 while the planning commissioners draft a proposal for Hays city commissioners.

Commissioners also discussed the possibility of having a wind expert come in to address local officials.

Jesse Rohr, superintendent of planning, inspection and enforcement, said he has been in contact with a national renewable energy lab in Colorado. After more details are secured, planning commissioners can decide whether or not they want to pursue a speaker, Rohr said.

In the interest of time, commissioners then agreed to divide sections of the drafted regulations for further review.

Working in small groups, the nine-member board will meet early for a work session at next month's meeting and continue to develop regulations.


Source: http://www.hdnews.net/Story...

AUG 19 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/16610-commission-discusses-turbines-in-city
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