Conditional use permits for five different single turbine wind farms in Odin were granted Wednesday, December 27 at a reconvening of the County Board meeting held Tuesday, December 19.
Although commissioners requested a written legal opinion that verifies it’s the county’s position and not the state’s position to grant the conditional use permits for the wind turbines, a letter was not available.
Commissioners were given more documents at the December 19 meeting concerning the Odin Wind Farms including a letter from the Rahn Group, LLC, certificates of organization for all five wind farm LLCs filed with the Secretary of State and a letter from Rahn Group’s attorney Daniel Yarano of Fredrikson and Byron. In the letter from the Rahn Group it states, “Our attorney has approached Larry Hartman of the MN PUC about these projects and has received support that the County does hold the jurisdiction to permit these projects.”
Commissioner John Baerg said after examining the documents concerning the Odin Wind Farms and the separate applications for the individual wind turbines that will produce less than 5 megawatts of power each, that he thought the applications were legitimate and that the county should permit all five conditional use permits for the farms. An ordinance states that any combination of wind energy systems of 5 megawatts or more must be approved by the state. Each Odin Wind Farm LLC will use one 2 megawatt wind turbine.
Commissioner Scott Sanders also explained why he believed the Odin Wind Farm conditional use permit applications were legitimate for the county to approve. He said after talking with Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust attorneys, he felt the five different Odin Wind Farm LLCs deserved the county’s approval. Because a state statute concerning wind energy systems does not address the structure of wind farm ownership, Sanders said the county board shouldn’t need to focus on how the ownership of wind farms is structured when approving the conditional use permits.
The county board agreed to address a specifications issue on the jail expansion project. Sometime during the last two weeks of December, inmates in the new jail cells built during this year’s expansion project, were moved to different cells within the jail because one bunk bed was falling down in one of the cells. County personnel have now reinforced the cell beds with legs and the inmates have moved back to the new cells. County personnel also installed the bunk beds. The county board agreed they needed to address specifications issues with the expansion project contractor Wilcon construction because some of the cement cell wall blocks were not core filled correctly. If the situation is not remedied in a set amount of time, commissioners talked about possible litigation.
After a permit was granted for Daryl Hall to place a boat ramp on the shoreline of Mud Lake, Hall put up the boat ramp but was later informed by the DNR that it was not at the official shoreline. The county hired someone to move the boat ramp to the correct shoreline. Hall requested that the commissioners reimburse him for his permit fee, equipment rental fee and materials used for the boat ramp he put up that was moved by the county. The county used the rock Hall placed in the incorrect shoreline area for the boat ramp and relocated the rock to aid in the erosion project at Long Lake. The commissioners decided to reimburse Hall $364 for his material costs, although his requested reimbursement for all costs of the boat ramp project was $1476.56.
The County Board decided to table an application made by the Madelia EDA at the January 2 meeting for the transfer of the former Pennant Foods Building in Madelia to the EDA in order to transfer the property to a prospective buyer.
By Kristen Pritchard
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding