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Palm Springs City Council rejects appeals of wind turbine project

Wind turbines slated for land in and north of Palm Springs gained momentum Wednesday when the City Council rejected the latest set of appeals from opponents of the Dillon Wind Project.

The project, proposed by Oregon-based PPM Energy, would place five 327-foot turbines in the city and 40 additional turbines in unincorporated land north of Palm Springs and west of Desert Hot Springs.

The Planning Commission approved the five turbines May 23 for land west of Indian Canyon Drive, north of Interstate 10 and east of Highway 62. Nearby landowners appealed the decision to the City Council.

The council voted unanimously Wednesday to deny the appeals.

“We need to do our part for the planet, not just Palm Springs,” said Mayor Ron Oden, adding, “I see Palm Springs as being the renewable-resource center for this country.”

Riverside County has approved the portion of the project in its jurisdiction, and the Board of Supervisors voted to turn down similar appeals last month.

Opponents of the project, many of them neighbors, have protested and spoken at public hearings in the past, saying the turbines will be an eyesore, a nuisance and a potential threat to birds, bats and other wildlife. But few opponents attended Wednesday’s meeting.

“Just say no,” Palm Springs resident Dana Stuart told the council, saying she was a representative of “the local Don Quixote Club.” The windmills are too tall, and many existing turbines are in disrepair, she said. Stuart added that despite all the wind farms, Palm Springs residents still pay some of the state’s highest electricity rates.

Earlier in the meeting, the City Council voted to overturn a different Planning Commission decision. The commission had denied a permit for a drug treatment center proposed for 1404 N. Palm Canyon Drive, the site of the Las Palmas Hotel.

After testimony from several supporters and people in recovery, the council voted 4-1 in favor of allowing the Spencer Recovery Centers to operate under specified conditions.

By Julia Glick

The Press-Enterprise

25 July 2007