Three meteorological towers were approved with flying colors during Monday morning’s Ellis County Commission meeting.
“The board unanimously approved it. I don’t see anything wrong with it,” Commissioner Vernon Berens said.
Ellis County Zoning Administrator Dale Wing said all of the materials have been filed for the three meteorological towers, which will be west of Hays and be used to measure wind speeds as part of proposed wind energy developments.
“I don’t see anything wrong with the towers,” Commissioner Perry Henman said. “The only question is time. How long will they use them?”
Krista Gordon, project manager of CPV Wind Hays, said the towers will not be up for more than five years.
The commission unanimously approved the trio of towers before moving on to other zoning issues.
During Wednesday’s Ellis County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the issue of signs protesting the wind farm in the county came up.
Wing brought up the issue and asked the commission for direction.
“I have been aware of those signs and have chosen to not pursue it because there was enough animosity at the time and we didn’t need any more,” Wing said. “But a member of the coalition was in Friday and wishes to permit all the signs.”
Wing said the signs are illegal because they were not properly permitted, as outlined in countywide zoning.
“If they had permits, would they be legal?” Henman said.
Wing said public works has received complaints about one of the signs interfering with an intersection and said others could be on county rights of way.
“But I don’t know because I haven’t seen all of them,” Wing said. “I’d have to measure them.”
Henman suggested letting the members of the Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition apply for the permits.
“If they don’t meet the standards, we deny them,” Henman said.
Berens, however, would rather take a different approach.
“I would like to have the recommendation of the zoning board,” Berens said. “We need to take it back to the table and tell them that they want to go ahead and permit these signs.”
In other action, the commission:
* Heard about the repairs to the motor grader, which total about $39,400.
* Unanimously approved a change order for the Canterbury and U.S. Highway 40 intersection. The adjustment is increased because of an error of engineering by Bucher, Willis & Ratliff.
“We paid them to do the job,” Berens said. “They should be accountable.”
One of the errors resulted in about $26,000 more in the project’s price tag. The county will pay for 20 percent of the additional cost, with the state picking up the rest of the tab.
* Unanimously approved a proposal summary from Terracon for about $26,000. The proposals are in order to comply with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment requests based on a permit application from October 2006.
* Opened bids for financial consultants. The consultant would advise the public building commission. Action was tabled in order to give the commission the chance to review the bids.
* Unanimously approved a request to appraise the land on 22nd Street from Vine to General Hays Road.
* Unanimously approved purchasing a water storage tank from Glassman for about $6,800.
* Discussed sending out bids for someone to oversee the process of possibly moving into the Hadley Center.
By Karen Mikols
28 January 2008
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