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City Hall: Lancaster County seeks to relax rules for wind turbines

But County Board Chair Sean Flowerday said at the time that if the county didn't see any permits come forward in a year's time, he would revisit the regulations. That's exactly what the board intends to do, Flowerday said Tuesday. 

Lancaster County commissioners want to ease the restrictions they adopted just last year governing wind turbines in a move they see as recalibrating rules that have proven prohibitive.

"It has become apparent the (county's rules) failed to strike an appropriate balance that would allow a viable path toward wind energy development," the five commissioners wrote in a joint letter to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Department.

The county hasn't issued any permits under the rules since their adoption, the board said.

Initially in 2019, the County Board voted to enact the most restrictive setback requirements for wind farms in Nebraska, then eased them slightly, from 1 mile from a nonparticipating property owner's home to 5 times the height of the windmill or 2 times the height to the property line, whichever is greater.

But County Board Chair Sean Flowerday said at the time that if the county didn't see any permits come forward in a year's time, he would revisit the regulations.

That's exactly what the board intends to do, Flowerday said Tuesday.

He doesn't believe the board intended to set... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Lancaster County commissioners want to ease the restrictions they adopted just last year governing wind turbines in a move they see as recalibrating rules that have proven prohibitive.

"It has become apparent the (county's rules) failed to strike an appropriate balance that would allow a viable path toward wind energy development," the five commissioners wrote in a joint letter to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Department. 

The county hasn't issued any permits under the rules since their adoption, the board said. 

Initially in 2019, the County Board voted to enact the most restrictive setback requirements for wind farms in Nebraska, then eased them slightly, from 1 mile from a nonparticipating property owner's home to 5 times the height of the windmill or 2 times the height to the property line, whichever is greater.

But County Board Chair Sean Flowerday said at the time that if the county didn't see any permits come forward in a year's time, he would revisit the regulations. 

That's exactly what the board intends to do, Flowerday said Tuesday. 

He doesn't believe the board intended to set rules to effectively outlaw wind farm development in the county but wanted to provide the greatest quality-of-life assurances it could, Flowerday said. 

"We’re still looking for that sweet spot," he said.

In its letter, the board directed planners to craft new regulations that in particular would reduce the required setback and also change the noise regulations. 

So far, 16 letters — many of them form letters — supporting a move to ease the restrictions have been sent to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission calling for fairer regulation for the wind energy industry that respects landowner rights.   

The commission will hold a hearing on amended rules in January.

The move comes on the heels of decarbonization goal announcements by the city of Lincoln, Lincoln Electric System and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

"It is time to open up Lancaster County for renewable energy development," Flowerday said.

Cops to hand out cash

Uniformed Lincoln police officers will begin handing out envelopes of cash to unsuspecting city residents as part of a new random acts of kindness initiative geared toward improving police-community relations.

The Malone Center received more than $53,000 from anonymous donors to help bring cops together with the community and promote positive encounters with police in non-enforcement settings, said Ishma Valenti.

Valenti, a staff member at the center, is also a member of the TRACE (Trust, Respect, Accountability, Collaboration and Equity) committee working with Lincoln police. The group formed following the George Floyd protests over police reform last summer. 

Officers will go to local, predetermined nonprofits later this week and randomly hand out envelopes containing up to $300, a card with an inspirational quote and information on other community resources.

Other officers will be able to hand out envelopes to families they have encountered in their police work, Officer Chassidy Jackson-Goodwin said.

In total, the program can serve about 176 people this year, Valenti said. 

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He hopes the program will continue annually and act as another tool to create a happy memory associated with police. 

Jackson-Goodwin, whose husband is the Malone Center's executive director, said the value of the program cannot be understated. 

"To end 2020 like this, at a time like this, with everything that has gone on, this is just really significant for us as police with the community to show we're not going anywhere, we're still here for you," she said.

Council limits meeting capacity

One at a time. 

That's the new rule for Lincoln City Council meetings after the council Monday agreed to limit public access to the chambers during its meetings to enforce social distancing. 

The latest Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department directed health measure seeks to limit indoor gatherings to 10 people, and past attempts by the council to spread out those seated in the gallery haven't always worked.

For example, after officials marked off some chairs with plastic, a man refused to move from a front-row seat marked unavailable, prompting the council to call a recess until he complied.

The limit allows for a speaker to bring their lawyer or an interpreter with them to testify.  

The council also authorized virtual commenting.  

Fast takes

* 1,100 — Daily testing capacity at the Test Nebraska site at Gateway Mall, according to Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Director Pat Lopez. 

* "Thousands" — The number of cumulative signatures LNK Recall spokesman Samuel Lyon said the group has collected so far in its initiative to recall Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and City Council members Tammy Ward, Jane Raybould, Richard Meginnis and James Michael Bowers. Lyon declined to provide a more specific number for signatures in an interview Tuesday.

* 27,000 — Electric scooter rides in Lincoln since the Sept. 1 launch of the city's pilot program. Bird, the only company currently renting its scooters downtown, plans to continue operations through the winter with no operations on snow days. Spin, the other company involved in the pilot program, ceased operating for the year Nov. 13. 

* 230,000 — Gallons of sodium hypochlorite, a bleaching agent needed for the city's annual supply. A bid seeking bulk delivery of the chemicals outlines that the majority of it would go to the Water Division, while the remainder would supply the Wastewater Division. 


Source: https://journalstar.com/new...

DEC 8 2020
https://www.windaction.org/posts/52005-city-hall-lancaster-county-seeks-to-relax-rules-for-wind-turbines
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