Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Kansas
Landowners blew through a gust of grievances on un-built wind farms Monday years after they signed leases — or, in one case, after construction started on property where a lease was never signed. One landowner, Sandy Sellers, told Marion County commissioners he never signed a lease, yet Windborne Energy still performed work on his property against his will.
By a 2-1 vote Tuesday morning, the Sumner County Commissioners approved the Argyle Creek Wind Energy Project which will place approximately 60 to 65 wind turbines in the northwest portion of the county.
With the commission’s approval of the measure, Flory, who had characterized wind towers as "monstrosities" when the amendment was first introduced in February, expressed satisfaction with the protection the measure gave county residents. “I’ve been told (wind towers) are majestic, but my feeling is that how majestic they are is relative to how close they are to your front porch,” he said.
The revised text amendment before commissioners retains the 1-mile notification but doesn’t expand protest rights to those property owners beyond the 1,000-foot radius. However, staff wrote in a report to commissioners that the County Commission has the authority to give protest petition rights to those living in a 1-mile radius. That would create the possibility of two separate protest petitions, both of which could force a supermajority vote, staff wrote.
The Lyon County Commission heard from a representative from RES Americas on a potential wind energy farm project in Reading during an action session Thursday.
Any large-scale wind farm operations in Douglas County will have to wait another six months before they can take any action, after county commissioners voted Wednesday to extend a moratorium halting any projects.
County commissioners amended the regulations in March by reducing the minimum distance between a wind turbine tower and a leaseholder’s residence from 1,320 feet to 500 feet. The petition filed by Wildcat Creek Ranch alleges the change unreasonably increases safety risks to property owners in and around wind farms.
In December, the commission placed a moratorium on wind farm projects until it had time to draft regulations on their development. But at the commission's Wednesday meeting, the panel ruled the meteorological towers did not fall under the moratorium and allowed the application process for a conditional use permit to continue.
The action came amid reports from residents in southern Douglas County that a potential developer has approached residents seeking to buy easements for wind towers. "Currently we don't have any specific regulations that mention wind farms," said county Administrator Craig Weinaug.
lanning and Development Director Nancy Scott said that is not the case and that the city regulates their placement only in the interest of public safety and to protect neighbors from nuisances such as noise or shadow flicker caused by spinning blades catching the sunlight. In Myers' case, Scott said, the city was responding to a complaint by another citizen and Myers' first problem was that he never submitted plans for the city's approval or sought a required conditional use permit.
"It says do not stay within a radius of 1,300 feet from the turbine unless it is necessary," he said. "This is from a manufacturer of a wind turbine that is now operating across the world.
The agenda for Monday's 6:45 p.m. meeting includes a recommendation from the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission that would change the required setback distance from 10-times-the-tip-height to 1,000 feet and eliminate regulations for noise levels.
A packed room gave the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission a resounding round of applause Tuesday night after the commission voted 5-2 to recommend changes to the wind energy zoning regulations to the Ellis County Commission. ...The zoning commission recommended changing the current 10 times the tip height of the wind turbine setback to 1,000 feet and a noise decibel regulation of 50 decibels.
One of Ellis County's most talked about topics during the past few years will be in the spotlight once again on Tuesday night. During the monthly Ellis County Joint Planning Commission meeting at 7 p.m., committee members will host a public hearing on changes to the county's wind energy zoning regulations that were proposed by Mark Bannister of Butterfield Wind during the committee's December meeting.
Commissioners agreed Monday that Campbell was not an aggrieved party and therefore his appeal was not valid. "I tend to agree that he is not an aggrieved person," Commission Chairman Perry Henman said. "He doesn't have any property in the project."
Invenergy project manager Will Furgeson said while he continues to pursue a proposed project in northern Ellis County, the increased setbacks adopted Monday have caused concern about creating a viable project in the county. ...Along with increased setbacks, the amended regulations call for a standard for noise in wind projects not to exceed 40 decibels.
While the Crawford County Joint Board of Zoning Appeals had already heard a case for a height variance for a private wind turbine, Zoning Administrator Judy Freeman said that guidelines may have to be augmented. Freeman said that current county zoning regulations do not address the construction of wind turbines, whether on a farm or just a single-use.
Currently, Hays regulations do not allow wind turbines taller than 125 feet within three miles of city limits. The FHSU wind turbines would be built in a large field area used for agricultural studies.
Differing from a suggestion submitted by the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission last month, Commissioner Perry Henman proposed a 10-times-the-tip-height setback from rural dwellings in order to eliminate the need for noise regulations in wind energy conversion systems. "If we do that, I would be satisfied if the county didn't regulate noise," Henman said.
The commission agreed to recommend a setback from wind turbines of 1,000 feet from participating residences and 2,000 feet from non-participating residences near a wind project. The latter differed from a recommendation by county commissioner Glenn Diehl, who had suggested a 1-mile setback. "I understand trying to protect residences," Planning Commission Chairman Bill Poland said. "I think we can come to a compromise.