After an extensive discussion, the County Board agreed to hold off on approving conditional use permits for five wind farm turbines in Odin Township. The commissioners agreed to recess the meeting and reconvene to talk about approving the conditional use permits. The commissioners requested that they receive a written legal opinion that verifies it is the county’s position and not the state’s position to make the decision on permitting the wind turbines in Odin. Because a statute says any combination of wind energy systems of 5 megawatts or more must be approved by the state, County Attorney LaMar Piper did not approve having the county commissioners grant the conditional use permits for the wind turbines.
Charlie Daum, who represented the local owners who want to build wind turbines on their land, said the owners are within the statue because they’ve each applied separately for a conditional use permit. There are five separate LLCs, with each one applying for the conditional use permit of one 2 megawatt wind turbine. The LLCs are part of a small, community owned project fitting into the Community Based Energy Development local ownership structure. Each proposed wind turbine is 80 meters in height and 88 meters in rotor diameter and should be similar in appearance to the nearby Trimont Wind Farm turbines.
Watonwan County Public Works Director, Roger Risser, reported he just received word that the federal government will fund 80% of the cost of a new Butterfield Lake Trail. Since he was planning on submitting a proposal again this year for the trail he now requested a new Transportation Enhancement candidate project for the 2011 Area Transportation Improvement Plan. The county commissioners approved his top suggestion which is to seek improvement to the shelter and restroom facilities at the Long Lake Park Access Road.
Rail Road improvement projects were also recommended and approved to add safety gates and lights to three railroad locations in Madelia.
This years tax levy was also set to 6.9% at the meeting. This is 1.1% less than the 8% the preliminary proposed tax statements sent out in November stated.
By Kristen Pritchard, Staff Writer
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