Planners Say No to Latest Round of Wind Turbine Restrictions Pitched By County Residents
2019-01-10 | The Lincoln Journal Star
Commissioners voted 7-1 to endorse some minor changes to rules proposed by the neighbors and their attorneys, but they said no to more substantive ones.
The board did endorse requiring any wind farm developer to do post-construction testing to ensure turbines meet noise standards, and it also approved some minor changes to zoning language meant to clarify intent.
But it said no to the residents' main proposal: to require a 1-mile setback from any wind turbine to the property line of a nonparticipating property.
Nonparticipating properties are those where the owner chooses not to accept a payment from the developer, either to host a turbine on the land or to act as a buffer to meet setback requirements.
Three years ago, the county set minimum setbacks for wind turbines of 1,000 feet to a property line, with potentially longer distances depending on the height of the turbines. It also set noise limits of 40 decibels in the daytime and 37 decibels at night.
Last month, the
During public hearings on that change, it was revealed that a study done by
Neighbors structured their proposal off of that distance but took it a step further by making it a mile from a property line.
"We're taking this information from studies that were paid for by NextEra," said
He and another attorney,
Hunzeker also argued that a distance setback would be cheaper and easier to enforce than one based on sound.
The 1-mile buffer, he argued, "is the only consistent guarantee on noise for us as nonparticipating properties."
Planning staff, however, did not support the 1-mile setback, saying no other surrounding county has regulations even close to that.
"The proposed change to setbacks and measuring noise levels at a property line instead of a dwelling are excessive and go beyond protecting property owners," Planner
The only commissioner to vote against the stricter proposal was
Harris did not vote no because she endorsed the 1-mile setback. Instead, she said the issue of regulating wind turbines had been through an extensive public process and she felt no further changes were necessary.
"I am fine with my original votes," she said.
The proposal passed by the
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