Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Kansas

Saline County clears way for wind farms

The Saline County Commission on Tuesday cleared the way for commercial wind farms to operate within the county. ...The commission voted unanimously to approve a resolution adopting an amendment to the county code that will lay out rules and regulations for wind farms that would produce energy for sale. The county code already allows for private wind facilities.
26 Nov 2008

Commission extends moratorium

In a unanimous vote Monday, the Hays Area Planning Commission approved a recommendation to indefinitely extend a moratorium on wind energy development within city limits. This recommendation will be presented to Hays city commissioners at a later date for final approval. Jesse Rohr, planning and development superintendent, suggested the recommendation for a moratorium extension of several months.
18 Nov 2008

Ford County OKs wind farm permit

The Ford County Commission authorized a company Monday to move forward with plans for a wind farm in the county's southeast corner. The commission voted 3-0 to approve a conditional use permit and development plan for Western Trail Wind Project I, following a recommendation by the Ford County Zoning Board. The company has already acquired the land for the wind farm, which will be located south of Bucklin and move west toward Kingsdown as it expands. ...Project details are still vague.
21 Oct 2008

Hays Wind LLC joins lawsuit

As a civil lawsuit seeking to overturn the Ellis County Commission's decision to permit a wind farm southwest of Hays makes its way through the court system, Hays Wind LLC will act as a co-defendant. The company, represented by Hays attorney Mel Sauer and Wichita attorney Jay Fowler, will join Ellis County in defending allegations brought forth by the 41 plaintiffs, represented by Wichita attorney Patrick Hughes. "The motion to intervene was granted," said attorney Dennis Davidson, who represents the Ellis County Commission.
26 Sep 2008

Energy talk dominates meeting of NW Kansas mayors

Energy was one of several hot issues discussed Saturday, as mayors from across northwest Kansas gathered in Hays for an annual Northwest Kansas Mayors Association summit. ...Bill Dowling, vice president of energy management and supply at Midwest Energy, also discussed the importance of multiple energy sources, and explained how diversity affects the power pool. While wind development is good -- and on the increase -- production from this resource is not always stable, he said.
14 Sep 2008

County files response to wind lawsuit

The Ellis County Commission and Hays Wind LLC have filed their responses to a civil lawsuit filed Aug. 26 regarding a conditional-use permit granted for a wind farm southwest of Hays. The suit was filed on behalf of 44 plaintiffs hoping to reverse the commission's decision to issue a conditional use permit and approve the development plan for the project. The appeal, filed by Wichita attorney Patrick Hughes, alleges the conditional-use permit application and development plan submitted by Hays Wind were incomplete.
12 Sep 2008

Kansas group exploring wind farm options

A company from Kansas is exploring building two wind farms, one near Kouts and one near LaCrosse. Within the next month, Trade Wind Energy of Lenexa, Kan., will erect a 197-foot-tall wind monitoring tower. ...Because guide wire towers are not allowed in the county, a zoning variance had to be granted this week.
22 Aug 2008

Planning commissioners learn city's zoning radius needs to be changed

At Monday's Hays Area Planning Commission meeting, commissioners were informed that legal descriptions defining the city-governed 3-mile zoning radius of Hays need to be revised. Jesse Rohr, superintendent of planning, inspection and enforcement, said the issue surfaced as city staff began analyzing plans for a wind farm southwest of Hays, which includes plans for turbines in the area. ...Hays Wind Project Manager Krista Gordon previously said there are eight turbines proposed within the 3-mile radius as defined in county zoning regulations.
19 Aug 2008

Commission discusses turbines in city

It was more wind talk Monday evening as the Hays Area Planning Commission continued efforts to develop wind turbine regulations for city-governed land. The board has been working to develop the regulations for several months, and with a couple extra work sessions, hopes to wrap the process up by November. Because the commission oversees regulations in town and within the surrounding 3-mile radius, rules for both hobbyist and commercial towers have been taken into consideration.
19 Aug 2008

Wind could blow into court

Monday's Ellis County Commission vote to grant a conditional-use permit application for a wind project southwest of Hays was a step forward for Iberdrola's 200-megawatt project. Individuals on both sides of the issue, however, expect that final resolution of this debate could be issued in district court. "I sincerely appreciate the vote of support this morning," said Krista Gordon, Hays Wind project manager. ...Not everyone, however, is pleased with the commissioners' decision. Tim Davis, co-chairman of the Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition, a group opposed to the wind farm, said plans to file an appeal in district court have been under way.
29 Jul 2008

Vote: Let 'er blow

For the second time in less than a year, the Ellis County Commission was split in its decision to grant a conditional-use permit for a wind farm southwest of Hays. This time, however, the 2-1 vote in favor of granting the permit was sufficient. Approval of Iberdrola's much-contested 200-megawatt wind farm project, to stretch across approximately 13,000 acres of land, was granted this morning. "The zoning board did vote 5-2 for approval," Commissioner Vernon Berens said. "All I can say is, I think it's an excellent benefit economically and otherwise for the county."
28 Jul 2008

Commission approves wind project

In a 2-1 vote, the Ellis County Commission gave its approval to the latest conditional-use permit for a large-scale wind-energy development southwest of Hays. Perry Hanman, whose dissenting vote nixed the project last fall, again voted against the project, with commissioners Vernon Berens and Dennis Pfannenstiel supporting the plan.
28 Jul 2008

County gets wind appeal this time around

Another appeal has been filed regarding the development plan for a much-contested wind farm southwest of Hays, and this one will come before the Ellis County Commission later this month. The appeal was submitted by Wichita attorney Patrick Hughes on behalf of almost 60 Ellis County residents. "The appeal requires the county commission to weigh in on the questions that were raised to the planning commission," Hughes said, referring to the June 24 meeting of the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission.
20 Jul 2008

No wind protest filed

With no protest mounted, a proposed wind project southwest of Hays will come before the Ellis County Commission needing a simple majority. Approved by the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission by a 5-2 vote in June, the Hays Wind project received no opposition during a protest period that ended Wednesday, and county commissioners tentatively are set to hear the proposal July 28. ...Iberdrola has yet to sell the energy expected to be produced on the Hays Wind site.
11 Jul 2008

Shot heard round the world

On June 26, two of our county commissioners fired the shot heard round the world. I assure you that within 24 hours every large wind farm conglomerate in the world got the news that the biased, hand-picked zoning committee had accomplished their mission. ...Now, we will all be forced to live with wind farm rules that are so vague and minute, they will do little to protect the citizens of our county. Now that the fox is in the chicken coup, we will see dozens of applications to bring in wind farms. Because these huge conglomerates are worried they may lose the monster tax breaks if Congress votes them out, they will be in a mad rush to get things going in our county. Within five years we may not have one scenic location left in Ellis County. When they have destroyed all the high hills, they will just make the towers a 100 feet higher and continue to march across our county.
3 Jul 2008

Commission says 'yes'

For the second time in about a year, the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission recommended approval of the proposed Hays Wind project by a majority vote. Following Wednesday's lengthy public hearing, the present commissioners voted 5-2 to recommend county commissioners approve the conditional-use permit application. ... One concern voiced by both commissioners voting against the project was the fact the project's boundaries have been altered, creating gaps in the project area to allow for setbacks from neighbors not involved in the project. By altering these boundaries, the company has reduced the feasibility for a valid protest petition, as provided for in county zoning regulations, Anderson said.
26 Jun 2008

Public hearing on wind still scheduled

An appeal has been filed with the Ellis County Board of Zoning Appeals, protesting a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday. The public hearing had been slated for the Joint Planning Commission to consider a conditional-use permit application submitted by Iberdrola's Hays Wind for the proposed wind farm southwest of Hays. The appeal was filed by members of the Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition, who say the application is incomplete and the case should not be heard until corrections are made. ...How the appeal will affect the wind farm hearing remains unknown. [Zoning Administrator Dale] Wing said he is waiting for response from the county's attorney, Dennis Davidson, regarding the issue.
23 Jun 2008

Wind dominates planning talks

It was more wind farm-related planning issues Monday evening as the Hays Area Planning Commission continued its process of developing wind power regulations to be applied within city limits. While no action was taken on the issue, commissioners discussed the possibility of having a more unbiased academic source provide a day of education for local government. "It seems like it's going to be a coming thing in the future," Planning Commissioner Terry Claycamp said. "To have some non-biased, knowledgeable source, we could have questions answered." ..."On the commercial side, I've been very frustrated because most of the information we can get ... everything seems so slanted in one direction or the other," Planning Commissioner Jim Fouts said.
17 Jun 2008
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