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Planners approve wind farm and Funk Dairy proposals

BURLEY – A conditional-use permit for Windland Inc., as well as a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit amendment for the Darrell Funk Dairy have been approved.

The Cassia County Planning and Zoning Commission members made the decisions at its Thursday meeting.

Windland’s conditional-use permit opens a seven-year window for the wind power company to build a transmission line linking its planned wind farm in the Cotterel Mountains between Malta and Albion to existing lines owned by Idaho Power Co. Construction of the wind farm itself is slated to take place during the same period. Both phases of the project are set to be completed by 2014.

Michael Heckler, director of marketing for Windland, said his company designed the transmission line’s route to cross as little private land in Cassia County as possible. Though the line will cross four privately owned lots, he said it will not interfere with areas of high traffic.

“The impact from our transmission line, we believe, will be minimal,” Heckler said. Commissioners discussed Windland’s application for only a few minutes before unanimously approving it.

Darrell Funk’s application for an amendment to his CAFO permit was approved with similar ease.

His application sought approval to expand the square footage of his dairy and split its barn and corral area from one unit into two.

Rob Williams, who represented Funk, said the reason for the proposed expansion was to accommodate a section of the dairy that would be designated for organic production.

“Business opportunities have caused my client to seek amendment to what I would call the footprint of the site,” he said. “We’re not seeking any deviation from the approved numbers (of animal units). Nothing else has changed, just the footprint.”

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the CAFO amendment.

By Sven Berg
For the Times-News