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North Boone wind turbine debate continues

A decision tonight by the Boone County Zoning Committee angers people opposed to building wind turbines there.

The turbines would be built on about 70 acres of land owned by the North Boone School District, and would be used to power the schools in that area.

People who live nearby say they want more land separating them from the turbines, but county leaders didn’t see the necessity in that. The zoning committee ruled to keep wind turbines 1,000 feet from surrounding properties, instead of increasing that distance.

Bill Ellingson, who lives less than a mile away from where the wind turbines would be built, says that decision directly affects his property value. “I expect to lose $50,000 as soon as they begin construction,” he says.

The committee also sided with those in favor of wind turbines on another issue. It increased the amount of power the wind turbines would be allowed to generate, without mandating a special-use permit.

“That is something the school district feels it needs to provide that much power to really help the schools with their energy costs,” says Boone County Board Chairman, Catherine Ward.

North Boone School Board President, Don Ward, is pleased with the committee’s decision. He thinks the rural area is perfect for the wind power project. “It’s renewable,” he describes. “It’s good for kids in the district to see leaders pursuing this clean energy.”

Catherine Ward expects more heated debate next Wednesday, when the entire county board will vote on the zoning committee’s decision. “We have a different board than we had last time around, so it might come out totally different,” she says.

Don Ward estimates that if these measures get full county board approval next week, the wind turbines could be built within the next year and a half. But the school board still needs to have a final vote on whether to build the turbines, and that vote won’t happen for a few months.

Reported by: Katie Crowther


2 July 2008