Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Kansas

Opponents gain legal assistance

Wind farm opponents mean business, and they've secured the services of a Wichita attorney and are discussing what action to take after the Ellis County Commission votes either to approve or deny the conditional-use permit requested by Competitive Power Ventures. The Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition, a group organized in opposition to the proposed project, is prepared to support the county commissioners in a vote of denial, said ECEAC co-chairman Tim Davis at a meeting Monday evening. The coalition also is preparing for a lawsuit in the event of commission approval, he said.
18 Jun 2007

Ready for a lengthy battle

The Ellis County Commission should be cognizant by now of the depth and strength of opposition to the wind energy project from those members of the community who would be most affected by it. We continue to educate the community of Hays and collect signatures on our petition for a moratorium, based on the fact that there has been no qualified, independent assessment of either the economic or the environmental impact of this project in its proposed location.
15 Jun 2007

There’s no inalienable right to harm neighbors

For local, heartfelt stories and more information regarding wind turbine issues refer to We all need to be educated about this project. Let's keep wind turbines away from families in our community. What is the purpose of the Ellis County Planning Commission? Be consistent and fair when making wise decisions that promote health, safety, comfort and general welfare of the citizens in Ellis County.
13 Jun 2007

Impoverished arguments of the Zoning Commission

I welcomed zoning to Ellis County. It was supposedly established for the protection, safety and well-being of the citizens of Ellis County. Now I find out differently. The regulations written for the wind project were written in a way to favor commercial interest and not for the citizen's protection, safety or well- being. Now who should be scolded? The final example was when one of the commissioners recalled his eighth grade science teacher's prescient thoughts concerning the role of sun and wind to help meet our energy needs. Too bad he was not also taught about proper setbacks for turbines, sound travel, property devaluation for homes near turbines, and honesty in establishing industry in Ellis County.
7 Jun 2007

Wind farm concerns brought before commission

Discussion of the proposed wind farm development surfaced twice throughout the approximately five-hour meeting. Catherine resident John Schmeidler had been on the agenda to address the board May 29 but was not listed on Monday's agenda. In an insert item, Schmeidler discussed concerns about the protest petition relating to the conditional-use permit filed by wind developers for the proposed Ellis County project. "A couple of things have come up," Schmeidler said. "As you know, I met with you on April the second and asked a bunch of questions and hoped to get some answers. Those have not been forthcoming."
6 Jun 2007

Wind farm gets nod

After two public hearing meetings and about five hours of public presentations, the Ellis County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the conditional-use permit and development plan for the proposed wind farm southwest of Hays following less than 20 minutes of discussion Wednesday night. The recommendation of approval, which passed 6-1, now will pass to the Ellis County Commission for a final decision.
6 Jun 2007

Wind farm decision looming

The public hearing for a conditional-use zoning permit filed by Competitive Power Ventures in March will resume this week. The Ellis County Planning and Zoning Commission will begin deliberation regarding the proposed wind project at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Ellis County Fairgrounds Gold Building.
5 Jun 2007

Attorney discusses wind farm with commissioners

The protest petition process was a primary concern of commissioners. Henman requested clarification regarding the allotted time frame and protest area. The terminology regarding the allowed time frame differs slightly in the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission Procedural Guide and the adopted Ellis County Zoning Regulations. Davidson said that has caused confusion. Protest petitions must be filed with the Ellis County Clerk within 14 days after the Planning and Zoning Commission makes a decision, which means the hearing is closed, Davidson said. However, if there ever is discrepancy between these two documents, the zoning regulations would take precedence, he said.
21 May 2007

100 families feel terrorized by project

Really? Is it clean? Wind power is not clean - it is a very expensive way of producing unreliable, intermittent electricity. It is considered by many a form of environmental vandalism that scars vast tracts of land, destroys scenery and view-sheds, and diminishes property values, all without replacing a single conventional power generation facility. It is a big ‘greenwash' scam being perpetrated on taxpayers by big corporations invested in oil, gas, and other forms of power generation who are not just harvesting our tax dollars, but also betting they will be able to raise the price of our electricity in a year of two. As far as powering 60,000 households, how many households would want to depend on the wind blowing 30 mph before they can cook dinner or turn on their air conditioning?
16 May 2007

CPV says turbines will be pulled back

There have been new developments regarding the proposed Ellis County wind farm, project manager Krista Gordon said Tuesday. For starters, the project's boundaries will be pulled back from areas of "greatest concern," Gordon said. Negotiations still are under way, but several turbines located along Yocemento Avenue and Old U.S. Highway 40 will be relocated. Easement agreements also will be revised to ensure the company cannot locate equipment in the areas closest to housing communities outside project boundaries, Gordon said.
9 May 2007

Neighbors voice opposition to wind farm

The scene was cozy in Tim and Penny Davis' country living room Thursday evening. A group of 13 wind farm "neighbors" had gathered to discuss research pertaining to the proposed Ellis County wind farm in the form of an informal press briefing. A candid conversation prevailed as residents, who are members of the Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition, sipped iced tea and nibbled on fruit bread. "We need as many people as possible to be informed," said Rod Bittel. "One of the things we've found out is that a lot of people didn't know very much."
3 May 2007

80 families express opposition in Hays

On April 25, The Hays Daily News ran a fairly extensive news story on the proposed development of the industrial wind power generation plant west and southwest of Hays. That article stated that about 80 local families have expressed their opposition so far, but it did not say much about why there is this opposition. Let me try to explain very briefly some of the multiple sources of opposition. But please understand that this is an extremely brief explanation of each. More information is available at a public meeting being held tonight in the Fox Pavilion, starting at 7 p.m. and sponsored by the Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition. (Full disclosure: I am a member of this group.) I would say that the opposition can be divided into three groups, and these groups often overlap.
2 May 2007

Opponents air wind concerns

There was an air of excitement in Fox Pavilion on Wednesday evening as about 300 people gathered for a free community presentation - "The Truth about Industrial Wind Energy." The presentation, which started at 7 p.m., was produced and presented by the Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition. "These people are not politicians, they're not promoters of corporate business interests, they're not even experienced public speakers," said coalition member J.P. Michaud. "They're simply citizens ... who feel this is an issue of intense public importance and one deserving of very careful consideration." A variety of concerns and research was presented by 12 residents.
2 May 2007

Wind farm talk gaining more speed

Plans for a wind-energy development project a few miles southwest of Hays could bring a blast of change to Ellis County. If the proposed wind farm development is approved, about 135 turbines will be spread over about 11,000 square acres of land. According to information obtained from the Ellis County Appraiser's office, there are about 50 landowners in this area - 20 of whom have entered a memorandum of easement agreement to have wind turbines placed on their property.
24 Apr 2007

New counsel for wind farm issues

Russell attorney Dennis Davidson will replace Bill Jeter as county counselor in matters pertaining to the potential development of a wind farm southwest of Ellis County, it was decided at Monday's Ellis County Commission meeting. Following a 20-minute executive session, commissioners formally accepted Jeter's resignation and appointed Davidson in a 3-0 vote by commissioners. "It would be very difficult to find someone in Hays who didn't have a conflict of interest," said County Chairman Vernon Berens. "We didn't want to question the attorney, so we just went with someone out of Russell who does not have a conflict."
18 Apr 2007

Commissioners hear wind farm feedback

The heated debate concerning a potential wind farm wafted into Ellis County Commission chambers Monday morning, as resident John Schmeidler presented concerns regarding county procedures. "In going through the town hall meeting that we had last week, as well as talking to some of the administrators, it seems to me there are several procedural problems that need to be addressed," Schmeidler said. "Since ultimately this is going to end up on your plate to decide, and perhaps even to the district court to decide, there are some things I'd like to bring to your attention." He said public notices only were distributed to individuals residing within 1,000 feet of the project area. "We're talking about a huge project, probably the biggest project that's ever been proposed in Ellis County," he said. "In my opinion, if this were to go to district court, and we only notified people within 1,000 feet, that is not including all the people who are going to be affected by this project." The district court might find that to be inadequate due process, said Schmeidler, who lives at 2169 Locust Grove, about 4 miles north of Catharine. Schmeidler asked commissioners to extend the notification area to at least a 5-mile radius around the project site southwest of Hays. Another concern he presented was that the county has no official recording of the public hearing.
2 Apr 2007

Wind farm debate blows into Hays

As plans for an Ellis County wind farm continue to kick up dust, a heated debate has blown over the city of Hays, particularly the southwest part of town. While 20 property owners in the Yocemento Road area have entered lease agreements with Competitive Power Ventures, a Maryland-based power industry development and asset-management company, other locals strongly oppose the idea of neighborhood turbines.
27 Mar 2007

Ethanol Reaps a Backlash In Small Midwestern Towns

CAMBRIA, Wis. -- With empty storefronts on the main drag and corn stubble stretching for miles in the surrounding hills, this fading farm town seems like a natural stop for the ethanol express. Not to John Mueller, though. The 54-year-old stay-at-home dad has led a dogged battle to prevent a corn mill from building an ethanol plant up the hill from the village school. Concerned about air pollution, the water supply and the mill's environmental track record, Mr. Mueller and his group, Cambrians for Thoughtful Development, have blitzed the village's 800 residents with fliers, packed public meetings and set up a sophisticated Web site. The mill has fought back with its own publicity campaign and local corn farmers have taken to the streets in tractors to show support. Now, as the mill races to build the $70 million plant, the matter is headed to the federal courthouse in Madison, 40 miles southwest.
23 Mar 2007

Electric utility, Sierra Club end dispute

The Sierra Club and Kansas City Power & Light Co. have signed an unusual accord in which the utility agreed to offset all the greenhouse gas emissions from a new coal-fired plant by adding wind power and taking steps to conserve energy on a large scale. The Kansas City utility, which serves half a million customers in western Missouri and eastern Kansas, also pledged to cooperate with the Sierra Club on legislative and regulatory changes that would reduce the company's overall emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 percent by the year 2020. In return, the Sierra Club will end its campaign against the utility's 850-megawatt coal-fired plant under construction in Missouri.
20 Mar 2007
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