Articles from Kansas

Concerned residents speak about wind farm

Haas said his concern is that if the commission does not handle RWE’s development right with a special use permit or through zoning, the next wind company wanting to develop in the county will expect the same deal. So if setbacks aren’t adequate with RWE’s development, the next company will expect the same. Haas said he’s seen this in the past when studying wind developments in a number of states. Some counties ended up in court with wind companies.
20 Apr 2021

Plan to limit turbines riles growing Kansas wind industry

State Senate Utilities Committee Chairman Mike Thompson said Wednesday that he is trying to protect landowners who fear that a proliferation of large turbines in their rural areas will drop property values and harm their quality of life. Thompson, a conservative Shawnee Republican, is pursuing a bill that would impose statewide regulations limiting turbines to one per square mile and keeping them 1.5 miles from any home or public building.
24 Mar 2021

Anderson County property owner compares wind farms to menacing strip clubs, landfills

Anderson County resident Mike Burns ripped pages of his prepared speech in half Monday to speak from the heart about why Kansas had to pass a law regulating placement of wind farms to protect property rights and bring peace of mind to folks in rural areas attractive to developers. Burns joined dozens of people at the Capitol eager to testify on behalf of Senate Bill 279, which would establish state-crafted regulation of wind generation facilities from the turbine to power line. It would replace county commission preferences for or against wind farms with state law defining turbine setbacks from businesses, parks, homes, property lines and much more. The maximum density would be one turbine per square mile, well below the current standard. There would be caps on sound and light emitted by turbines that sometimes reach 500 feet into the sky.
22 Mar 2021

NextEra renews interest in Republic County wind farm

“We made a business decision to take a step back from some of our current leases,” he said. “Some were terminated, but now we’re back, and we’re going to start the process all over again.” Scheffler said some of the properties leased for the project four years ago will not be pursued because of restrictions by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense. Much of the area affected by those restrictions is in Washington County, he said.
25 Jan 2021

Thank you, Kansas governors, for the moratorium on wind development in tallgrass heartland

Sometimes it takes an outsider to appreciate what we here take for granted, to see what our eyes and our minds fail to grasp: the Flint Hills of Kansas are a national treasure. ...Gov. Kathleen Sebelius first promulgated such a moratorium in 2004, which was then continued and expanded by Gov. Sam Brownback. On July 28, 2020, Gov. Kelly issued her proclamation, thus continuing bipartisan protection of this endangered ecosystem.
17 Oct 2020

Would-be developer wants zoning change overruled

In March, Stonebridge applied for building permits to start construction. The planning and zoning department denied building permits because zoning administrator Sharon Omstead deemed the applications insufficient. The county implemented a sunset clause in 2018 that terminated previously-approved conditional use permits on if the company did not apply for construction permits by April 1.
8 Oct 2020

Kelly reaffirms wind moratorium

Gov. Laura Kelly announced a proclamation reaffirming the Tallgrass Heartland wind moratorium region of the Flint Hills on World Nature Conservation Day. ...“The Tallgrass Heartland moratorium helps conserve Kansas’ unique prairie ecosystem, vital to native wildlife, tourism, education and local ranching economies,” Kelly said. “There has been bipartisan consensus across administrations that these lands should be protected, and I’m pleased to follow in that tradition today.”
30 Jul 2020

County ups ante in wind farm road dispute

After nearly an hour in executive session with lawyers, commissioners voted unanimously Monday to have staff prepare documents seeking to collect road repair money from Diamond Vista wind farm. Wichita lawyer Pat Hughes, originally hired as a county consultant for dealing with the wind farm, was retained to handle future action against Diamond Vista.
15 Jul 2020

Planning board agrees to amend wind farm regulations

The Reno County Planning Commission agreed after about a 90-minute public hearing on Thursday to amend county zoning regulations on commercial wind developments. A majority of the evening’s two dozen speakers asked the commission to adopt a 21-page draft document submitted by Reno County Citizens for Qualify of Life that included significant additions and modifications to current regulations.
19 Jun 2020

Judge rules on issue in Pretty Prairie Wind lawsuit

A Reno County judge recently ruled on a key element in a lawsuit filed by NextEra Energy over the denial of a permit for its proposed wind farm in the southeast quadrant of Reno County, finding in favor of the county and wind farm opponents. It was not the only issue in the suit, however, so the lawsuit continues.
17 Jun 2020

Novak faces subpoena; Wind farm targets private emails

After unsuccessfully trying to get copies of commissioner Dianne Novak’s personal emails with an open records request, a wind farm concerned about her possible role in aiding its opponents says it will subpoena those emails from her directly. Expedition Wind last month filed a lawsuit seeking more than $35 million from Peabody farmer Randy Eitzen and five other defendants. The defendants are plaintiffs who did not withdraw from a lawsuit filed last August against the county. 
28 May 2020

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