With wind energy fast becoming an industry in Wyoming, the Platte County Planning and Zoning Board is establishing rules both to help citizens and wind developers in the establishment of wind farms throughout Platte County.
Marlin Johnson, head of Platte County Planning and Zoning, said the rules were written in 2007.
“Platte County was probably a little ahead of the curve from neighboring counties,” Johnson said. Now, he said, other counties in Wyoming are looking at Platte County’s rules as a guide to writing their own wind energy regulations. “We…wrote our rules to try to keep in mind neighboring counties,” Johnson said.
The rules in Platte County cover issues such as how far a wind farm can be from various types of residential areas. Johnson said rules can be voluntarily waived by owners as well. These regulations apply to all residents in Platte County not in a municipality, Johnson said.
Johnson said that similar rules between counties are beneficial to both the wind developers and landowners. He said that this can prevent wind developers from focusing on one area of Wyoming since a particular county’s rules are easier to comply with, and it also simplifies wind farms that cross over county lines.
“Platte County was ahead of their time,” said Laramie County Planner Gary Krantz. He said Laramie County is using the rules as a guide for their own. “[It was] a good place to start,” he said, adding that “Wyoming doesn’t have a lot to go off of,” in the area of wind development regulations.
Krantz said that Laramie County was also looking to wind regulations that would cooperate with counties in Colorado, but this was something that was still in the future.
Albany County Planner Doug Bryant said that Albany County was using Platte County’s rules, citing the benefits of uniform rules between the counties, especially in instances where wind farms will cross over the county line. Like Platte County, who is working with groups of land owners, Bryant said Albany County had formed a group of land owners to ease the process of working with developers. “Companies like to deal with larger groups,” he said.
For Platte County, the rules that were written last year are ready for use, according to Johnson. “What we’ve got is what we’re going with,” he said.
By Amanda Fry, Staff Writer
21 May 2008
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