26 July 2016

Cherry Commissioner Activity on Wind-turbine Business

The public input process for the proposed wind energy conversion system at Kilgore has been set for the coming weeks. Action on three items of business was consider at the Cherry county commissioners meeting on July 26th.

Regarding setting a date for a hearing on the conditional use permit, the members voted unanimously on these provisions:

1) Table action on setting a date for a public hearing on conditional use permit 16-01
2) Initiate a sixty day comment period that would end on September 26th
3) Have a public hearing rather than just a regular meeting
4) Set a date for the public hearing at the regularly scheduled commissioner meeting on September 27th

In the interim, the commissions will receive all material provided at the public hearing on July 19th. The commissioners will review this information, and other comments during the next sixty days.

The commissioners will evaluate the permit request based upon applicable provisions within both the Cherry County Development Plan and county zoning regulations, the commissioners indicated. The permit application to be evaluated would be the proposal already submitted by BSH Kilgore, they said.

When asked whether the Planning and Zoning Commission needs to consider both the county development plan and zoning regulations, there were two applicable comments:

Jim Van Winkle: I "feel that they do,"
Tonya Storer: both are relevant; the development plan is a "guide" to zoning regulations

The next business item of particular interest was an evaluation of additional options for public notification when there is a request for a conditional use permit. The board opted to continue the current procedure of placing a paid-for notice in the publication of record selected in January of each year. Applicable agendas will also be issued – as a public service – on the official Cherry county website.

Suggested options include the use of public service opportunities on local radio stations, or publishing notices in newspapers issued in surrounding counties (notably at Thedford, Mullen and Hyannis). One proposal that met with favor was preparing and sending an email to local publications, and letting the editor decide whether the notice could be placed on their community calendar or issued in the newspaper, for example.

Commissioners will continue to evaluate how to notify the public, while using the limited tax dollars of the county.

There was no selection of a new member for the Planning and Zoning Commission. Van Winkle first thanked George Johnson for his many years of service, and the Board accepted his resignation that had occurred on July 19th at the business meeting of the planning and zoning commission.

Van Winkle mentioned he had considered residents in the Nenzel, Cody and Kilgore areas as a potential replacement, and had talked with one person willing to be appointed to the volunteer position.

Storer mentioned that she thought the southern tier of the county was under represented, then indicated a couple where one of them might be willing to be appointed.

Someone among the people attending also mentioned a potential candidate that resides south of Merritt reservoir. It was suggested that further details be provided for evaluation.

There was no action taken to appoint a new commission member.

Attending the meeting were fourteen wind turbine and industrial powerline opponents, one turbine proponent representing a member family of the Cherry county wind group, one staff person of Bluestem Sandhills, the three county commissioners, the county clerk and a pending commissioner candidate selected in the May election.

This was - once again - an exceptional attendance at a Board of Commissioners meeting, one commissioner said, adding that they are appreciative of the public interest and input in county business.