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Gage County considers wind farm setbacks

A proposed wind farm that would cover a portion of northern Gage County prompted the County Board of Supervisors to review setback requirements during Wednesday’s meeting. Volkswind USA announced plans in September for a wind farm that would be primarily in Lancaster County, though it would also occupy around 4,000 acres in Gage County.

BEATRICE -- A proposed wind farm that would cover a portion of northern Gage County prompted the County Board of Supervisors to review setback requirements during Wednesday’s meeting.

Volkswind USA announced plans in September for a wind farm that would be primarily in Lancaster County, though it would also occupy around 4,000 acres in Gage County.

County Board Chairman Myron Dorn said the company’s permit is no longer active in Gage County and he’s unsure where the project stands, but the proposal reignited discussions about setback requirements.

"We’ve had the discussion several times, but we’ve never done anything,” Dorn said.

Dorn said current setbacks in Gage County require the base of a wind turbine to be at least 1,250 feet from the nearest corner of a nonparticipating residence.

Nonparticipating residences are those owned by property owners who are not being compensated for having wind turbines on their property. Structures such as barns, grain bins and livestock facilities are exempt from setback requirements.

Dorn said there are currently no restrictions on where a residence can be in relation to a turbine if... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

BEATRICE -- A proposed wind farm that would cover a portion of northern Gage County prompted the County Board of Supervisors to review setback requirements during Wednesday’s meeting.

Volkswind USA announced plans in September for a wind farm that would be primarily in Lancaster County, though it would also occupy around 4,000 acres in Gage County.

County Board Chairman Myron Dorn said the company’s permit is no longer active in Gage County and he’s unsure where the project stands, but the proposal reignited discussions about setback requirements.

"We’ve had the discussion several times, but we’ve never done anything,” Dorn said.

Dorn said current setbacks in Gage County require the base of a wind turbine to be at least 1,250 feet from the nearest corner of a nonparticipating residence.

Nonparticipating residences are those owned by property owners who are not being compensated for having wind turbines on their property. Structures such as barns, grain bins and livestock facilities are exempt from setback requirements.

Dorn said there are currently no restrictions on where a residence can be in relation to a turbine if the homeowner is collecting a fee from the power generation company.

The board discussed doubling the setback requirement to 2,500 feet.

Board member Erich Tiemann pointed out that from 1,250 feet, wind turbines can still be considered a nuisance for those not being compensated for power generation.

“You can be a long way back, and it might seem like a long way, until you have that tower up in the air,” he said. “Then it seems like it’s right in your backyard. If you’re getting paid for it, the tolerance factor goes up in a hurry.”

The setback requirements will be re-examined by Gage County Planning and Zoning, before eventually coming back to the board for consideration. The process is expected to take up to eight months.

The same day the County Board discussed the setback requirements, Volkswind was scheduled to discuss Lancaster County’s setback requirements with their Planning Commission.

Volkswind withdrew its application to change the zoning code in Lancaster County to "have some more public engagement," Volkswind president Jeffrey Wagner said.


Source: http://journalstar.com/news...

FEB 5 2015
https://www.windaction.org/posts/42135-gage-county-considers-wind-farm-setbacks
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