29 December 2016

Request for an Immediate Moratorium on CUP Applications for Wind Turbine Facilities in Cherry County

Comments by James E. Ducey at December 27, 2016 meeting of the Cherry County Commissioners, Valentine; this item was placed on the agenda after personal request on December 21, 2016 at the county clerk office.

On July 19, 2016 a six-month moratorium on requests for any conditional use permit request for a wind energy conversion system was recommended by Planning Commission.

After the initial recommendation, with an unanimous vote, commissioners did not act.  There were also subsequent requests - notably in October - by several county citizens that the county commissioners enact a moratorium.

Commissioners have continually and repeatedly not acted, based upon notably prevalent words heard at various venues where inaction - based upon verbal proclamations - has been the norm.

Six months later, there has still not been any action taken on enacting a moratorium for conditional use permit requests to place industrial wind turbine facilities within the county.

This is another request, today, that the county commissioners immediately enact a moratorium on any requests for a conditional permit to construct an industrial wind turbine facility within Cherry county.

This moratorium should be for at least one year, and perhaps longer. There are ongoing changes being considered for the zoning regulations. Any new requests should not be allowed until all proposed changes are considered and passed by the zoning board; and then as considered and either accepted or rejected by the county board.

There are several other essential topics also associated with any permit requests for any wind turbine facility that need to be clarified and specifically identified to ensure that each suitable - and more importantly, legal - requirements are properly met by each and every permit request.

It is very obvious that consideration of wind turbine facilities by Cherry county officials is in a dramatic condition of flux. There has , however, already been enough delay in making a decision on this topic.

Until there is some agreement and stability in the county development plan guidelines and planning regulations, no further permit requests should be considered. This would allow not only the commissioners to evaluate accepted provisions, but also - more importantly - provide an accepted and common set of guidelines for county residents and any development interests to consider.

Cherry County Commissioners need to make an immediate decision, without any further delay.