Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Kansas
Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson said Tuesday wind production in Kansas can expand to create an export market for notoriously stiff breezes cruising across the state. "We know there is just a certain amount of wind we can integrate into our electrical system in Kansas," Parkinson said. "How do we keep the momentum going? We're probably talking about export." Wind generation capacity is spiking in Kansas through construction of large commercial farms. The state's installed capacity was 365 megawatts at the end of 2007. That total is expected to reach 1,015 megawatts at the end of 2008.
Hamilton County commissioners handed the documents necessary to build a wind farm back to the Syracuse-Hamilton County Planning Commission Tuesday morning after finding some of the formatting of the zoning regulations need to be changed. The commission did not approve the zoning regulations to allow the wind farm, but support of the $300 million project was evident. "We're not ready to approve it except in spirit," said Hamilton County attorney Rob Gale at the meeting. The planning commission will change some of the formating, including adding a section to separate the regulations from the definitions, said John Kennedy, Hamilton County economic developer.
Hays Wind LLC's plans for a wind farm south and southwest of Hays will continue, and sooner than originally anticipated. A year-long moratorium required by Ellis County's zoning regulations regarding a conditional-use zoning permit was waived by county commissioners in a 2-1 vote at this morning's meeting, with Commissioner Perry Henman dissenting. Commissioner Vernon Berens and Chairman Dennis Pfannenstiel both spoke in favor of wind energy development within the county and granting the waiver to speed up the process.
As lawmakers ended the 2008 session Thursday, they rejected a standalone bill extending the tax break beyond 2009. Topeka lawmakers say the $1 million per year tax break is aimed at a wind turbine manufacturing plant interested in locating in the capital city. The investment would bring up to 950 jobs to the area. "We know other states have put up cold hard cash," Kelly said. The name of the company hasn't been disclosed. Without the extension on the tax break, it is likely the company will look elsewhere, she said. ...A month ago, House members voted overwhelmingly to pass a bundled bill authorizing expansion of a coal-fired power plant at Holcomb and extending the sunset for the tax break meant to lure a $150 million investment to Topeka. After Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the bill, House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, chastised her for costing the state "billions in opportunities."
The process of developing wind power regulations is underway for the city of Hays. On Monday night, the Hays Area Planning Commission discussed the wind power moratorium, which is in effect until Dec. 31. "I do think (we need) a four- to six-month investment of time and energy to do research and make sure that we have consideration," Chairman Larry Gould said. The subject originally came before the commission after developer Wes Bainter, Hoxie, inquired about installing wind generators for a senior apartment project on East 33rd Street.
Baby, the wind must blow. But whether rules about generating electricity from the the wind will go is the question for the Franklin County Planning Commission. ...The proposed rules deal only with "small wind" and not the large utility-sized wind farms that are sprouting up over western Kansas. Both Walrod and Wilson say that given average wind speeds and patterns in Franklin County, it's not likely that any commercial wind farms would be located in the county, although Walrod said that in the future, some spots of southeastern Franklin County might be considered.
The requested waiver on wind energy development in Ellis County will resurface for further discussion June 2 after county commissioners opted to table action Monday. Commissioners agreed to postpone making a decision until the Joint Planning Commission, which is in the process of reviewing and amending wind farm zoning regulations, has a chance to discuss the request and make a recommendation. "I think we need to allow them to finish that process. Pushing it through is just going to make it more contentious," Commissioner Perry Henman said. "I think we need to get our rules and regulations straight so that every project doesn't become as contentious as this one. I think we're jumping the gun if we push this through."
For months the zoning board, city council, county commissioners, and residents have held meeting discussing the proposed $300 million wind farm in Hays. The project has people on both sides. After being rejected for a conditional-use permit last year, county zoning regulations state Iberdrola, the company behind the Hays wind project, must wait one year before submitting a new application. That year is up in September. ...But the new application will have to wait. County commissioners decided to let the planning commission discuss the year hold on May 28th before deciding if the new application will wait until September.
The Ellis County Commission this morning tabled a request to waive a yearlong waiting period for a second attempt at a wind farm southwest of Hays. Commissioners opted instead to send the waiver - required after the developer's initial proposal was rejected last year - to the county's zoning commission for review and recommendation.
At Monday's meeting, the commission will be asked to waive a year-long moratorium required by county zoning regulations and enforced last September when the conditional-use permit was rejected. ...The application to be discussed Monday is slightly different than the proposal submitted about a year ago. The project area's internal and external boundaries have changed, including additional tracts of land to the south and west of the original project.
Bonner Springs may get a zoning ordinance amendment this summer that addresses an issue increasingly on the public's mind. At its study session before the regular meeting on Tuesday, the Planning Commission gave the go-ahead to Planning Director Don Slone to draw up proposed amendments to the city's zoning ordinance to allow wind turbines in certain areas with restrictions.
In a unanimous vote Thursday night, the Hays City Commission enacted a moratorium against wind development in the city. The intent is to give the Hays Area Planning Commission a chance to examine issues relating to wind towers and develop regulations to govern those towers. ..."We just don't have any ordinances to deal with towers," City Attorney John T. Bird said. "If we don't have any regulations, then it's a free for all." Mayor Barbara Wasinger said proceeding with caution is important.
Monday night's Hays Area Planning Commission meeting to discuss a moratorium for wind towers was a stark contrast to county meetings on a similar topic. As opposed to overflowing county crowds, Monday night's meeting at City Hall drew one observer. Planning commissioners discussed options for towers within city limits, as well as what other cities are doing regarding the issue. "There's the wind farm towers, 300- or 400-foot towers, then there are the residential towers that brought this all here," said Jesse Rohr, superintendent of planning, enforcement and inspection. "A lot of what you find is dealing with the bigger towers. So you have to differentiate between the two."
Commissioners discussed the possibility of a moratorium until the end of the year. "The moratorium is to hold anything off and not allow any development for a set period of time so the planning commission could come back with a recommendation for you," City Manager Toby Dougherty said. The eight months would allow the Hays Area Planning Commission time to research what other cities and counties have done in regard to wind power. The issue came up because a developer asked about the possibility of putting a turbine up in the area of 33rd Street, Dougherty said. ...Commissioners discussed a shorter moratorium period but opted to leave the length at eight months.
Setback requirements between industrial wind turbines and residences likely will not increase from the currently mandated 1,000 feet. At Wednesday's Joint Planning Commission meeting, a motion to double the required distance failed due to a tied vote of 4-4, with commissioner Charlie Rohr absent. "Two thousand feet just protects all the homeowners involved," Commissioner Bill Poland said. "It just gives them a wider bumper of protection." Commissioners continued to review zoning amendments submitted by the public and discussed a proposal filed by J.P. Michaud regarding wind farm regulations.
When an Appanoose woman sought to erect a wind-power generator at her home a year ago, Larry Walrod, county planner, discovered there were no regulations regarding the generators and their towers. To allow her to put up a tower, planners had to design a backdoor path to grant her a special use permit through a provision that allows utilities to operate in the county. The procedure spurred several inquiries from other people interested in putting up their own wind generators, Walrod said. ...Few counties in Kansas have rules one way or another concerning wind-generators and, for the most part, are concerned with giant commercial wind farms, such as those in western Kansas, Walrod said.
The developer of a proposed Ellis County wind farm has re-initiated the process of building the wind-energy complex in the county. Hays Wind today filed a request to the county commission requesting a waiver of the one-year waiting period for consideration of the proposed wind farm. The waiting period came into play after last year's rejection of the plan by the Ellis County Commission. Hays Wind project manager Krista Gordon said the latest request was well-researched. ...Recently, Hays Wind, whose parent company is Madrid-based Iberdrola, said it has considered two alternative locations within Ellis County, on top of the hotly contested location just southwest of Hays.
The Hays City Commission will discuss wind generators within the city limits during the work session at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 1507 Main. "We had more than one individual come forward inquiring about wind towers within the city limits," said Jesse Rohr, superintendent of planning, inspection and enforcement. "They raised the flag and made us do some checking and realize we don't have enough in place to regulate those." The commission will discuss a moratorium to allow time to research. The moratorium would be in place until the end of the year, unless it was extended.
Countywide zoning -- and the possibility of rescinding it -- was discussed by Ellis County Commissioners on Monday morning. Chairman Dennis Pfannenstiel, who attended last week's planning commission meeting, expressed concerns about current zoning issues. "To me, countywide zoning is just causing nothing but trouble," he said. "At the meeting the other night, they accomplished nothing. All that got done was bickering.
The board heard from three individuals who had prepared suggestions to revise the current zoning document, which was approved by the county commission in 2006. "I would just like to thank the people that put the time in to do it," Commissioner Gary Luea said following the presentations, as the audience burst into applause. There also were moments of tension, as commissioners began to review a proposal submitted by J.P. Michaud presented last month regarding zoning regulations for wind farms. ...The changes proposed by Michaud on behalf of the Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition also suggest setback distances of 1 mile from inhabited structures, and state noise emissions should not exceed 40 decibels for any period of time.