30 December 2016

Suspension on Turbine Applications in Cherry County

A suspension on any applications for any industrial wind turbine facilities has been approved for an indefinite time for Cherry county. 

During this period, three items approved by the Board of Commissioners would be completed by members of the Planning and Zoning Commission:
1) An independent appraisal of any land valuation changes associated with wind turbine facilities
2) A plan for how local fire departments would respond to any turbine fires
3) Are there any health related issues; information from Lancaster county would be reviewed.

These three items would need to be completed in a “timely manner, not to exceed six months.” Any proposal would then be acted upon by county commissioners.

Commissioner comments included:

Tanya Storer: “these are reasonable and proactive steps";

Mark Adamson: regulations concern “personal property rights versus those of neighbors”;

James Van Winkle: regulations need to “support all landowners in property rights” and “that the commissioners “can’t make arbitrary decisions” on any decision regarding a moratorium on wind developments. A “suspension” is an effective “taking” of landowner rights, he also said.

The vote on a motion to undertake these steps was Mark Adamson and Tanya Storer, yes for approval. James Van Winkle - a member of Cherry County Wind L.L.C. - voted no.

Wind development opponents had requested the minimum of a one year, with some people having also suggested either two or six years, according to public testimony during the review process for the BSH Kilgore application.

The commissioners would work with planning and zoning to determine any costs, especially for the land valuation study.

Commissioners would not address any wildlife or wetland issues, as they are considered through other “venues,” Storer said (i.e., the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers).

The Planning and Zoning Commission has been meeting monthly, primarily working on an update of the zoning regulations. Several county residents have also been in attendance, providing suggestions and comments.

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