A multimillion-dollar wind farm in Woodford County is in limbo, again.
A road agreement set to be approved today by three township boards is not going to be endorsed by the company in charge of developing the wind farm.
“There is no agreement,” Woodford County Administrator Gregory Jackson said Friday. “(The township’s agreement) means absolutely nothing.”
Minneapolis-based Navitas Energy, developers of a 79-turbine wind farm northeast of Benson, said two issues remain within the agreement that they consider sticking points with the townships, and, as such, they will not endorse it.
“If they vote to approve it, we won’t be signing it,” Wanda Davies, project manager with Navitas said. “It would be misleading to people to believe we have an agreement. I hope the people (who attend today’s meeting) will understand there are two agreements and they need to understand which agreement is being voted on.”
The agreement Davies referred to will be voted upon by the township boards of Greene, Panola and Clayton at 9 a.m. at the Panola Township Hall building.
She said the two items involve liability concerns and who should take legal responsibility if the wind farm project causes problems with township roads.
“We will take responsibility for our errors,” Davies said. “We believe they should take responsibility for theirs.”
She continued, “They are saying that we should take complete responsibility for everything and are arguing that they are rural townships and don’t have the means to be well-represented legally and so forth. But, obviously, they have legal representation.”
Sheryl Kuzma, the attorney representing the three townships, said Thursday that she anticipated “favorable action” with the road agreement, leading some to believe that the wind farm development could happen. The agreement is viewed as the last major hurdle to clear before the wind farm development can occur in Woodford County.
Kuzma could not be reached for comment late Friday afternoon.
Road agreement woes between the townships and Navitas come four days before the Woodford County Board is set to approve a special use permit allowing the approximately $260-million development to occur. Last month, the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved the permit.
By John Sharp of the Journal Star
John Sharp can be reached at 686-3234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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