Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Kansas
At Monday's meeting, the Hays Area Planning Commission continued its work to draft an ordinance regulating wind energy development within city limits. As discussion continued, the issue of whether to require special-use permits for every project or to include accessory use provisions seemed to spur some disagreement. Commission representatives solicited input from Hays City Commissioners at last week's meeting, at which time an ordinance extending a moratorium on wind development was approved.
At Thursday's Hays City Commission work session, commissioners discussed the possibility of extending a moratorium on wind development until April 1. The Hays Area Planning Commission has been working to develop guidelines regulating wind-energy development for about six months and has requested a time extension.
The commission voted unanimously to approve a resolution adopting an amendment to the county code that will lay out rules and regulations for wind farms that would produce energy for sale. The county code already allows for private wind facilities.
The Saline County Commission on Tuesday cleared the way for commercial wind farms to operate within the county. ...The commission voted unanimously to approve a resolution adopting an amendment to the county code that will lay out rules and regulations for wind farms that would produce energy for sale. The county code already allows for private wind facilities.
In a unanimous vote Monday, the Hays Area Planning Commission approved a recommendation to indefinitely extend a moratorium on wind energy development within city limits. This recommendation will be presented to Hays city commissioners at a later date for final approval. Jesse Rohr, planning and development superintendent, suggested the recommendation for a moratorium extension of several months.
The Ford County Commission authorized a company Monday to move forward with plans for a wind farm in the county's southeast corner. The commission voted 3-0 to approve a conditional use permit and development plan for Western Trail Wind Project I, following a recommendation by the Ford County Zoning Board. The company has already acquired the land for the wind farm, which will be located south of Bucklin and move west toward Kingsdown as it expands. ...Project details are still vague.
As a civil lawsuit seeking to overturn the Ellis County Commission's decision to permit a wind farm southwest of Hays makes its way through the court system, Hays Wind LLC will act as a co-defendant. The company, represented by Hays attorney Mel Sauer and Wichita attorney Jay Fowler, will join Ellis County in defending allegations brought forth by the 41 plaintiffs, represented by Wichita attorney Patrick Hughes. "The motion to intervene was granted," said attorney Dennis Davidson, who represents the Ellis County Commission.
Energy was one of several hot issues discussed Saturday, as mayors from across northwest Kansas gathered in Hays for an annual Northwest Kansas Mayors Association summit. ...Bill Dowling, vice president of energy management and supply at Midwest Energy, also discussed the importance of multiple energy sources, and explained how diversity affects the power pool. While wind development is good -- and on the increase -- production from this resource is not always stable, he said.
The Ellis County Commission and Hays Wind LLC have filed their responses to a civil lawsuit filed Aug. 26 regarding a conditional-use permit granted for a wind farm southwest of Hays. The suit was filed on behalf of 44 plaintiffs hoping to reverse the commission's decision to issue a conditional use permit and approve the development plan for the project. The appeal, filed by Wichita attorney Patrick Hughes, alleges the conditional-use permit application and development plan submitted by Hays Wind were incomplete.
Three groups of developers are taking a look at Marshall County as a possible site for a wind farm, according to Marysville Mayor Bernie Krug. Krug said the interest was only in the initial exploration phase and developers' names would not be released until they express interest in pursuing a project.
A company from Kansas is exploring building two wind farms, one near Kouts and one near LaCrosse. Within the next month, Trade Wind Energy of Lenexa, Kan., will erect a 197-foot-tall wind monitoring tower. ...Because guide wire towers are not allowed in the county, a zoning variance had to be granted this week.
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 Hays Area Planning Commission meeting, commissioners were informed that legal descriptions defining the city-governed 3-mile zoning radius of Hays need to be revised. Jesse Rohr, superintendent of planning, inspection and enforcement, said the issue surfaced as city staff began analyzing plans for a wind farm southwest of Hays, which includes plans for turbines in the area. ...Hays Wind Project Manager Krista Gordon previously said there are eight turbines proposed within the 3-mile radius as defined in county zoning regulations.
Monday's Ellis County Commission vote to grant a conditional-use permit application for a wind project southwest of Hays was a step forward for Iberdrola's 200-megawatt project. Individuals on both sides of the issue, however, expect that final resolution of this debate could be issued in district court. "I sincerely appreciate the vote of support this morning," said Krista Gordon, Hays Wind project manager. ...Not everyone, however, is pleased with the commissioners' decision. Tim Davis, co-chairman of the Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition, a group opposed to the wind farm, said plans to file an appeal in district court have been under way.
In a 2-1 vote, the Ellis County Commission gave its approval to the latest conditional-use permit for a large-scale wind-energy development southwest of Hays. Perry Hanman, whose dissenting vote nixed the project last fall, again voted against the project, with commissioners Vernon Berens and Dennis Pfannenstiel supporting the plan.
For the second time in less than a year, the Ellis County Commission was split in its decision to grant a conditional-use permit for a wind farm southwest of Hays. This time, however, the 2-1 vote in favor of granting the permit was sufficient. Approval of Iberdrola's much-contested 200-megawatt wind farm project, to stretch across approximately 13,000 acres of land, was granted this morning. "The zoning board did vote 5-2 for approval," Commissioner Vernon Berens said. "All I can say is, I think it's an excellent benefit economically and otherwise for the county."
Another appeal has been filed regarding the development plan for a much-contested wind farm southwest of Hays, and this one will come before the Ellis County Commission later this month. The appeal was submitted by Wichita attorney Patrick Hughes on behalf of almost 60 Ellis County residents. "The appeal requires the county commission to weigh in on the questions that were raised to the planning commission," Hughes said, referring to the June 24 meeting of the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission.
With no protest mounted, a proposed wind project southwest of Hays will come before the Ellis County Commission needing a simple majority. Approved by the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission by a 5-2 vote in June, the Hays Wind project received no opposition during a protest period that ended Wednesday, and county commissioners tentatively are set to hear the proposal July 28. ...Iberdrola has yet to sell the energy expected to be produced on the Hays Wind site.
On June 26, two of our county commissioners fired the shot heard round the world. I assure you that within 24 hours every large wind farm conglomerate in the world got the news that the biased, hand-picked zoning committee had accomplished their mission. ...Now, we will all be forced to live with wind farm rules that are so vague and minute, they will do little to protect the citizens of our county. Now that the fox is in the chicken coup, we will see dozens of applications to bring in wind farms. Because these huge conglomerates are worried they may lose the monster tax breaks if Congress votes them out, they will be in a mad rush to get things going in our county. Within five years we may not have one scenic location left in Ellis County. When they have destroyed all the high hills, they will just make the towers a 100 feet higher and continue to march across our county.
For the second time in about a year, the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission recommended approval of the proposed Hays Wind project by a majority vote. Following Wednesday's lengthy public hearing, the present commissioners voted 5-2 to recommend county commissioners approve the conditional-use permit application. ... One concern voiced by both commissioners voting against the project was the fact the project's boundaries have been altered, creating gaps in the project area to allow for setbacks from neighbors not involved in the project. By altering these boundaries, the company has reduced the feasibility for a valid protest petition, as provided for in county zoning regulations, Anderson said.