Citing economic and property value concerns, the El Paso City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday evening opposing construction of a wind farm within 1.5 miles of the city. The resolution will be filed today with the Woodford County Zoning Board.
“We spent a whole year developing a comprehensive plan,” said Mayor Herb Arbuckle. “Now, they have put 12 of the 42 wind towers within the 1.5 mile comprehensive zone, which we (the city council) believe will have a detrimental impact on the city’s economy.”
Wanda Davies, a spokeswoman for Minnesota-based Navitas Energy, presented the proposal in March. If approved, the wind farm could generate more than $400,000 in property tax revenue for the school district, 30-50 short-term construction jobs, up to six permanent jobs, and enough electricity to power 24,000 homes.
The resolution calls on the zoning board to postpone consideration of the development for 60 days to allow the city to receive alternative council. According to Arbuckle, City Attorney Jim Stoller cannot represent the city due to a conflict of interest.
Arbuckle said the proposed farm would be built on the city’s west side, which limits the city’s growth in that area and negatively impact property values.
The board is also concerned the towers could interfere with electronic and radio transmission, specifically for fire, rescue and police transmissions.
Additionally, the resolution stated the board was concerned citizens would experience television transmission interference.
“We don’t see a direct benefit to the city,” said Arbuckle.
The resolution requires three quarters of the Wordford County Zoning Board to vote on the proposal, not just a simple majority. The zoning board will hold public hearings at El Paso’s Grace Fellowship Church May 23, 24, 30 and 31 at 6 p.m.
By Dave Tompkins
21 May 2007
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