The fight to stop wind farm developers from running 20 miles of high-voltage power lines through the center of Lee County may not be over.
Amboy resident Sam Taormina approached the Lee County Regional Planning Commission Monday night, loaded with questions about why the company was pouring the foundation for new poles in a wetland across the street from his state Route 26 home.
By existing county ordinances, the commission has little power to act, according to its chairman, William O’Keefe, and Taormina wasn’t sure what the level of protection is that the Department of Natural Resources grants to that particular wetlands.
One thing, however, is clear: Taormina plans to pursue every avenue he knows to stop Big Sky Wind from installing high-voltage transmission lines above ground, instead of burying the cable or tying into the grid elsewhere.
“What is it going to do to my property value when I look out my window and now there’s a set of power lines there? It that going to change what my house is worth?” Taormina asked.
The footprint for each tower is about 10,000 square feet, plus road access – roughly the size of a professional ice-hockey rink.
O’Keefe said the commission is continuing to research the extent to which the county not only can but should regulate privately held transmission lines.
Finding the appropriate level of regulation is something the Planning Commission and the County Board have pledged to examine, because Big Sky was able to secure right-of-way agreements with individual landowners with minimal oversight from the county.
“We’re just not there yet … this is a relatively new issue,” O’Keefe said.
By Sam Smith
5 February 2008
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