Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Kansas
The process of developing wind power regulations is underway for the city of Hays. On Monday night, the Hays Area Planning Commission discussed the wind power moratorium, which is in effect until Dec. 31. "I do think (we need) a four- to six-month investment of time and energy to do research and make sure that we have consideration," Chairman Larry Gould said. The subject originally came before the commission after developer Wes Bainter, Hoxie, inquired about installing wind generators for a senior apartment project on East 33rd Street.
Baby, the wind must blow. But whether rules about generating electricity from the the wind will go is the question for the Franklin County Planning Commission. ...The proposed rules deal only with "small wind" and not the large utility-sized wind farms that are sprouting up over western Kansas. Both Walrod and Wilson say that given average wind speeds and patterns in Franklin County, it's not likely that any commercial wind farms would be located in the county, although Walrod said that in the future, some spots of southeastern Franklin County might be considered.
The requested waiver on wind energy development in Ellis County will resurface for further discussion June 2 after county commissioners opted to table action Monday. Commissioners agreed to postpone making a decision until the Joint Planning Commission, which is in the process of reviewing and amending wind farm zoning regulations, has a chance to discuss the request and make a recommendation. "I think we need to allow them to finish that process. Pushing it through is just going to make it more contentious," Commissioner Perry Henman said. "I think we need to get our rules and regulations straight so that every project doesn't become as contentious as this one. I think we're jumping the gun if we push this through."
For months the zoning board, city council, county commissioners, and residents have held meeting discussing the proposed $300 million wind farm in Hays. The project has people on both sides. After being rejected for a conditional-use permit last year, county zoning regulations state Iberdrola, the company behind the Hays wind project, must wait one year before submitting a new application. That year is up in September. ...But the new application will have to wait. County commissioners decided to let the planning commission discuss the year hold on May 28th before deciding if the new application will wait until September.
The Ellis County Commission this morning tabled a request to waive a yearlong waiting period for a second attempt at a wind farm southwest of Hays. Commissioners opted instead to send the waiver - required after the developer's initial proposal was rejected last year - to the county's zoning commission for review and recommendation.
At Monday's meeting, the commission will be asked to waive a year-long moratorium required by county zoning regulations and enforced last September when the conditional-use permit was rejected. ...The application to be discussed Monday is slightly different than the proposal submitted about a year ago. The project area's internal and external boundaries have changed, including additional tracts of land to the south and west of the original project.
Bonner Springs may get a zoning ordinance amendment this summer that addresses an issue increasingly on the public's mind. At its study session before the regular meeting on Tuesday, the Planning Commission gave the go-ahead to Planning Director Don Slone to draw up proposed amendments to the city's zoning ordinance to allow wind turbines in certain areas with restrictions.
In a unanimous vote Thursday night, the Hays City Commission enacted a moratorium against wind development in the city. The intent is to give the Hays Area Planning Commission a chance to examine issues relating to wind towers and develop regulations to govern those towers. ..."We just don't have any ordinances to deal with towers," City Attorney John T. Bird said. "If we don't have any regulations, then it's a free for all." Mayor Barbara Wasinger said proceeding with caution is important.
Monday night's Hays Area Planning Commission meeting to discuss a moratorium for wind towers was a stark contrast to county meetings on a similar topic. As opposed to overflowing county crowds, Monday night's meeting at City Hall drew one observer. Planning commissioners discussed options for towers within city limits, as well as what other cities are doing regarding the issue. "There's the wind farm towers, 300- or 400-foot towers, then there are the residential towers that brought this all here," said Jesse Rohr, superintendent of planning, enforcement and inspection. "A lot of what you find is dealing with the bigger towers. So you have to differentiate between the two."
Commissioners discussed the possibility of a moratorium until the end of the year. "The moratorium is to hold anything off and not allow any development for a set period of time so the planning commission could come back with a recommendation for you," City Manager Toby Dougherty said. The eight months would allow the Hays Area Planning Commission time to research what other cities and counties have done in regard to wind power. The issue came up because a developer asked about the possibility of putting a turbine up in the area of 33rd Street, Dougherty said. ...Commissioners discussed a shorter moratorium period but opted to leave the length at eight months.
Setback requirements between industrial wind turbines and residences likely will not increase from the currently mandated 1,000 feet. At Wednesday's Joint Planning Commission meeting, a motion to double the required distance failed due to a tied vote of 4-4, with commissioner Charlie Rohr absent. "Two thousand feet just protects all the homeowners involved," Commissioner Bill Poland said. "It just gives them a wider bumper of protection." Commissioners continued to review zoning amendments submitted by the public and discussed a proposal filed by J.P. Michaud regarding wind farm regulations.
When an Appanoose woman sought to erect a wind-power generator at her home a year ago, Larry Walrod, county planner, discovered there were no regulations regarding the generators and their towers. To allow her to put up a tower, planners had to design a backdoor path to grant her a special use permit through a provision that allows utilities to operate in the county. The procedure spurred several inquiries from other people interested in putting up their own wind generators, Walrod said. ...Few counties in Kansas have rules one way or another concerning wind-generators and, for the most part, are concerned with giant commercial wind farms, such as those in western Kansas, Walrod said.
The developer of a proposed Ellis County wind farm has re-initiated the process of building the wind-energy complex in the county. Hays Wind today filed a request to the county commission requesting a waiver of the one-year waiting period for consideration of the proposed wind farm. The waiting period came into play after last year's rejection of the plan by the Ellis County Commission. Hays Wind project manager Krista Gordon said the latest request was well-researched. ...Recently, Hays Wind, whose parent company is Madrid-based Iberdrola, said it has considered two alternative locations within Ellis County, on top of the hotly contested location just southwest of Hays.
The Hays City Commission will discuss wind generators within the city limits during the work session at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 1507 Main. "We had more than one individual come forward inquiring about wind towers within the city limits," said Jesse Rohr, superintendent of planning, inspection and enforcement. "They raised the flag and made us do some checking and realize we don't have enough in place to regulate those." The commission will discuss a moratorium to allow time to research. The moratorium would be in place until the end of the year, unless it was extended.
Countywide zoning -- and the possibility of rescinding it -- was discussed by Ellis County Commissioners on Monday morning. Chairman Dennis Pfannenstiel, who attended last week's planning commission meeting, expressed concerns about current zoning issues. "To me, countywide zoning is just causing nothing but trouble," he said. "At the meeting the other night, they accomplished nothing. All that got done was bickering.
The board heard from three individuals who had prepared suggestions to revise the current zoning document, which was approved by the county commission in 2006. "I would just like to thank the people that put the time in to do it," Commissioner Gary Luea said following the presentations, as the audience burst into applause. There also were moments of tension, as commissioners began to review a proposal submitted by J.P. Michaud presented last month regarding zoning regulations for wind farms. ...The changes proposed by Michaud on behalf of the Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition also suggest setback distances of 1 mile from inhabited structures, and state noise emissions should not exceed 40 decibels for any period of time.
About a year after the possibility of an Ellis County wind farm divided the community, there was talk of compromise at Wednesday's planning and zoning commission meeting. As part of a process to review and possibly revamp zoning regulations, the board heard from residents who had suggested changes to the county document. "It has to be a mutual consensus, a reasonable consensus, for all of the parties involved," said J.P. Michaud, who proposed a replacement document for the wind energy guidelines. "We're just trying to initiate a debate here that's going to be a reasonable compromise for the whole community."
The much-contested proposed wind farm site southwest of Hays is not the only area being considered for a project location, County Commissioner Perry Henman said at Monday's meeting. Henman said Hays Wind project manager Krista Gordon contacted him last week and said locations in the southwestern and northern parts of Ellis county also are being pursued. "She wanted to inform me that I may have property in the wind farm north of Ellis," Henman said.
The Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition has proposed an ordinance to the zoning board that would regulate wind energy development in the county to protect citizens, the environment, and the common good of community. The regulations were drafted from zoning laws of counties in other states experienced with wind energy and follow recommendations set forth in the governor's guidelines for wind energy development in Kansas. ...Proponents can argue that some of the proposed regulations are too stringent, but they cannot argue that they are not needed.
County commissioners likely will see new regulations for wind power later this year. Because of a growing number of inquiries about wind generators, the Franklin County Planning Commission has been working on a proposal for planning and zoning rules for wind generators, Lisa Johnson, interim county administrator, told Franklin County Commissioners Wednesday.