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Whether turbines should be in the Flint Hills - and it appears they mostly will not be - is part of the dialogue over how best to leverage the sprawling, environmentally sensitive tallgrass prairie that Brownback has called "an ecological jewel."
A lawsuit filed by more than two dozen Ellis County landowners and a prospective wind developer against the Ellis County Commission was dismissed Wednesday. Dismissal comes on the heels of zoning regulation changes passed 2-1 at Monday's commission meeting.
The Ellis County Joint Planning Commission addressed wind energy regulation recommendations during Wednesday night's meeting. It came about after the Ellis County Commission suggested the commission address specific changes proposed by Mark Bannister of Butterfield Wind during the planning commission's December meeting. The three most-discussed areas of the suggested changes were wind turbine setbacks, notification and protest petition areas, and decibel levels.
Jarboe also said that Donica Creek has enough land now to move forward with construction, once studies come back. They are also waiting for agreements to work out with local utilities to carry the energy produced by the farms.
More than two dozen landowners and a prospective developer are suing the Ellis County Commission over zoning regulations they claim will essentially prevent wind farm development on their land.
The company has more than a quarter-million acres leased for potential development in a six-county region, including land in Barber, Harper, Kingman, Pratt and Kiowa counties "and a smidgen in Ford County," Pierce said. ...The future phases of Flat Ridge are being developed in 300 MW blocks, but they may be sold to different utilities in smaller amounts.
The Flint Hills pose an environmental dilemma for many green-minded Kansans. The region is a prime spot to harness wind energy while also being close to powerful transmission lines to carry that energy to the cities that need it. However, it is also holds some of the last remaining tallgrass prairie in the country and is home to dwindling bird populations.
Marion County Planning Commission voted Monday to recommend approval for a wind farm south of Marion.
The Hays Area Planning Commission unanimously agreed Monday evening that commercial-scale wind turbines should not be allowed within 3 miles of Hays city limits. That recommendation will pass to the Hays City Commission for final action.
Keith Campbell, a member of the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission, filed the appeal earlier this month citing the exclusion of the county commission from the final decision process.
The city's zoning regulations prohibit wind turbines taller than 125 feet in the 3-mile radius surrounding Hays, and that is where the project would be located. The planning commission in 2009 opted to limit the height of turbines in this area to ensure future municipal growth, Fouts said.
Members of the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission will determine Wednesday if changes in Hays Wind LLC's proposed project southwest of Hays constitute a minor change in the project's development plan.
A proposal to build Spearville's second wind farm won approval from the Ford County Commission on Monday. The commission signed off on a conditional use permit and development plan for the first phase of a wind farm on the Ironwood site. The site is located on the south and east sides of Spearville and extends up into Hodgeman County.
Prospects might sound pessimistic, Savage said, but he thinks the effort is worth it. If all remaining steps are completed quickly, construction could begin in about a year, but it probably will take a couple of years before construction can begin.
With a decision by a Texas-based company to end its effort in signing up acreage for a potential wind farm in southeast Reno County, no other commercial wind projects are visible on the horizon for the county. Not that the effort by Horizon Wind Energy was really visible, or that the decision makes the county any less viable as a candidate for development, local wind experts say.
Stocking is one of about 200 people on the e-mail list for the newly formed Southern Great Plains Property Rights Coalition, a group of landowners fighting for fair compensation as wind development changes the landscape.
Horizon Wind Energy has pulled the plug on its proposed wind farm north of Cheney Reservoir, saying it can't compete with likely future development. ...Several landowners in the area said most farmers in Horizon's target area felt their land had a higher value as 5-acre rural housing lots or even suburban housing lots.
The fate of a proposed wind energy generation facility at Fort Hays State University remains uncertain. Members of the Hays Area Planning Commission discussed the proposed two-tower project at their Monday evening meeting, but no recommendation was made. FHSU has requested the commission to modify existing city ordinances.
Donica Creek, LLC, is working on getting commitments from Kansas-area landowners for the construction of an approximately 100 megawatt wind farm. If all goes as planned, construction of the 55 or 56 wind turbines will begin in the first quarter of 2011.
With no public opposition voiced Wednesday night, the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission recommended approval of a conditional-use permit for the installation of 18 wind turbines for Hays Wind LLC. The turbines have been relocated since Hays Wind's previous CUP application in 2008 as the result of mediation of a lawsuit involving neighboring landowners.