Library filed under Impact on Landscape from North Dakota
Do rural Americans have a say in what they see outside their dining-room windows, even if that view extends miles beyond their property lines? It’s a more profound debate than it might seem, having as much to do with the future of farming communities and land values as it does with aesthetics. And for the wind industry, it poses a sharp challenge. As turbines get ever bigger and more visible as they spread across rural areas, they become more controversial, threatening the industry’s growth.
“We’re starting to have more opposition at wind farm hearings,” said Christmann, explaining that major issues in public hearings tend to be the sound turbines produce, the visual aspect and setbacks. From a regulatory standpoint, he said it comes down to a delicate balancing act in terms of expanding the state’s energy production and ensuring there’s enough capacity on the grid for electricity.
There were many other concerns that commissioners also dealt with during the 9-hour hearing for northwestern North Dakota’s first proposed wind farm. A big one for Commissioner Brian P. Kalk, which he announced at the beginning of the hearing, is that the wind farm sits right in the middle of a whooping crane flyway. “This is not the first,” he said, “and it’s something we were able to work through, but I will be interested to see what you have planned for that.”
The Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the Williams County Commission deny the applicant’s request for a conditional use permit on agricultural land and a separate variance request from setback requirements. Meanwhile, the applicant must also get approval from the North Dakota Public Service Commission before moving forward.
The purpose of the presentation and discussion was only to help the Tioga commission determine whether to recommend the county approve the permit for meteorological towers. Even this small step has generated an intense debate over property rights, regional energy needs, and desires to maintain North Dakota’s idyllic scenery.
The Adams County Planning and Zoning Commission Monday tabled a decision on an application for a 75-tower wind farm in Duck Creek Township. The panel will consult with its attorney about legal issues raised and whether Thunder Spirit Wind's application complies with the county's land use plan.
John Spitzer enjoys the beauty of his land in the spring: green grass, clear blue sky and a spinning wind turbine on the horizon. "I think they're beautiful," the Wilton farmer said. But some people in the Baldwin area think the turbines are an eyesore that could devalue adjacent property and cause health complications. "We're going to lose our very precious spaces," Vernon Spitzer said.
Concerns about health have some Crofte Township residents opposed to a nearby wind farm. NextEra Energy proposed last fall to build five wind turbines within the township. Some adjacent landowners and nearby neighbors are concerned about the nearness of the towers to their homes. "Our primary concern is health and lack of sleep," Crofte Township resident Geralyn Laurie said.
Neighbors protesting turbine locations for a wind farm near Luverne, N.D., are upset that work has begun while requests for reconsideration are pending before state regulators. ...Commissioners on Monday will discuss the requests for reconsideration by several neighboring landowners as well as Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo.
There is a person near here who has had most everything done to his house to try to keep the noise out. The power company, from what I understand, is paying for trying to keep the noise out in his home. Nothing has worked. He still has the constant noise in his home. Unfortunately, the tower is on the neighbor's land. He is just going to have to put up with it. I had two couples come out looking at lots and both of them wanted front lots or lots at the top of the hill. When the women got here and looked around, they looked at the view to the north and to the south. No way, they said. We are not going to look at those towers the rest of our lives and both couples left. One of the couples bought 40 acres. The other couple would not buy around the wind charger area.