Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Nebraska
While officials debate if the regulations should be changed, the County Board is considering stalling permits until a decision is reached. The agenda for the board’s Wednesday morning meeting includes an item to suspend wind permits to allow for review or change of the wind regulations.
“First of all, we know that ⅜ mile is not a safe distance for a wind turbine to be placed from a home,” said Yvonne Mihulka-Poole, who lives west of Cortland. “A 500-600 foot wind turbine needs to be at least one mile from residences to provide enough protection for the people of Gage County.” The group is also asking officials to make changes to how decibel levels are calculated. ...“We have learned from other studies and other counties that some testing can be manipulated,” Mihulka-Poole said. “We need to clarify this in our Gage County regulations.”
County planners voted unanimously Nov. 19 to recommend denying Bluestem Energy Solution’s request for a conditional use permit to build a four-tower wind energy project south of Interstate 80.
“We believe the wind regulations need to be updated,” he said. “When we first did this five years ago the (turbines) were 380 feet tall. Now they’re talking 500-600 feet turbines and our 3/8-setbacks are way too close.” In addition to the setback restrictions, Allder said the amendment also changes how decibel levels are calculated.
County planners tabled their review and pending recommendation on an application to build four commercial wind turbines south of Interstate 80 last week after hearing two hours of often emotional testimony from area neighbors who raised a number of concerns.
The Cherry County Commissioners made a motion to table any action on the wind turbine proposal and will take it under advisement. The board will meet next week and set a date to take action on the project.
The county’s repeated failure to adopt zoning regulations for wind energy causes concerned citizens to feel like they don’t have a voice. Ignored people quickly become angry people. They are forced to file lawsuits so they can finally be heard. LB 373 makes wind energy zoning mandatory. Creating new county zoning regulations is a very public process. It provides numerous opportunities for everyone to participate regardless of their position on the subject. No one can say their voice wasn’t heard.
Lancaster County will still have the most stringent setbacks for wind farms of any county in the state, but they will now be a little less stringent.
Vest, who wants to find a compromise on the county setback rule, which at 1 mile is among the most stringent in the state, then asked the board to put the issue on the March 19 board agenda.
Vest said his goal from the beginning has been to allow for development of the wind energy project while providing as much protection as possible for those who don’t want turbines next door. "I am trying to find that balance," he said.
Wind energy developers in Lancaster County will be required to place turbines at least 1 mile from any home that is not being paid to participate in the project. The 1-mile rule, the strictest in the state, will give homeowners some comfort and protect the quality of life in rural areas, said County Commissioner Deb Schorr.
Terry Madson is from Nuckolls County and belongs to Preserve Rural Nebraska. His county in south-central Nebraska, he said, has no zoning, and some of those that do created zoning before anyone was thinking of wind turbines. Other county zoning may not have taken into consideration escalating tower heights, larger generators, more noise and shadow flicker because of size changes. The bill gives those counties and others in the state the chance to get current, Madson said.
Rath and others who are concerned about the Nebraska Public Power District's R Project power line and the wind farms that are popping up across the land — and the whooping cranes — have found a champion in the Nebraska Legislature. Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon has taken up their cause with proposed legislation and advocacy, working from his Capitol office in Lincoln.
Despite strong opposition from residents of southwestern Lancaster County, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission on Wednesday approved changes to the noise limits in its zoning code for wind farms. The change was sought by NextEra Energy Resources ...that is considering building a wind farm with up to 50 turbines in southern Lancaster and northern Gage counties.
It’s taken about seven months to put the proposed regulations together, so it was not surprising Wednesday that the Madison County board of commissioners spent as much time as necessary listening to testimony and discussing the updated wind energy regulations.
Plans for a wind farm in northern Gage and southern Lancaster counties that failed to materialize may be resurrected by a different company. The Blue Prairie Wind Project, an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources, is proposing to build a wind energy generation facility in the two counties.
Members of the Adams County Planning and Zoning Commission are looking to change the county’s wind energy regulations. ...All the counties also have similar regulations for commercial wind energy systems. However, towers in Adams County shall not exceed 300 feet for the tower and 400 feet for the entire structure.
The regulations that were approved establish a set of rules more stringent than state regulations. At earlier county board meetings, it was disclosed that some landowners in the county had been approached by two wind energy companies seeking easements.
On Wednesday, the Cherry County Board of Commissioners voted 2 to 1 to reject recommendations by the county's planning and zoning board in regards to wind energy.
A vast majority were against any wind development. “You're going to destroy our environment with tall, massive wind turbines so (people in Omaha) can feel comfortable,” Stanton resident Tony Wortman said. “Do they put wind turbines in Omaha? Do you put wind turbines in Stanton? No, but you'll go out in the country and you'll irritate a neighbor… so bad that they're talking about moving. ”